It is an unassailable fact that citrus fruits are perfect: as tart-sweet shreds suspended in amber and spread on toast; gently stewed with vegetables in spiced tagines; magically thickening with coconut butter to make raw key lime pie – or with eggs, butter and condensed milk for the real deal; blitzed into creamy submission in green smoothies; as sparkling slices in breakfast bowls. And of course as juice, as natural sweetener and flavour booster, poached, preserved in salt; slipped into cakes, bakes and raw makes; in raw salads, as solo snack, flavouring dressings and marinades, iced desserts. We use their skin and flesh: contrasting flavours, multiple uses.
Now add roasted to that list.
Say what? Think about it. Roasting enhances many vegetables, especially winter ones. The starches in staid roots transform from dowdy to dazzle with the flick of a (oven) switch.
And citrus fruits flourish in winter; sunshine when there ain’t sunshine. Sure, leave it the heck alone and all is well. Even in this salad. But slice and roast for even just a short spell and something magical happens. The flavour intensifies as the moisture evaporates, and what results is a chewy sweet-tart slice of citrus alchemy. Marry these disks of deliciousness with freekeh, rosemary and olives? And a slab of griddle-marked and griddle-softened Romaine?
Man oh man.
I will not be held responsible for this salad not getting made. Or the salad only half made for lack of roasted fruit. Because it’s already in your belly.
Make a double tray.
Roasted Citrus, Olive, Freekeh and Romaine Salad
This deeply satisfying salad turns into a meal with the addition of freekeh or other grains/pseudo-grains, like quinoa or couscous. To have as a take-to-work salad, shred raw greens (or just the Romaine) and pile over the citrus, olives, nuts and freekeh. Perhaps leave out the onions. 🙂
3 small unwaxed oranges/4-5 clementines, sliced into thin rounds and including the end pieces as they will help make the dressing (keep the skin on)
1 small unwaxed lemon, sliced into thin rounds – as above (thin-skinned if possible)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided use
10 dry-cure black olives, pitted (I used a mix of smoked olives in oil and dry-cure)
1 cup cracked freekeh
1 fresh sprig of rosemary (optional)
2 ½ cups water
1 head of Romaine lettuce
½ small red onion
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
handful raw pistachios
Special equipment: stovetop griddle pan (not necessary, but nice)
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a large baking tray with parchment/non-stick paper. Slick both sides of each citrus slice with a tiny bit of oil. Lay on the paper, along with the olives. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the citrus is crisping around the edges but the flesh is still soft. The slices will have shrunk with water evaporation. You can also prepare the slices as wedges if you like. You may also like to pop the pistachios onto a small tray and roast them for the last eight minutes.
2. While the citrus and olives are in the oven, prepare the freekeh by bringing to the boil the water and adding the freekeh and rosemary sprig, if using. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes (to retain some bite), fish out the rosemary, and keep the freekeh warm. You may not use all of the freekeh but it is easiest to make this amount and use the extra in another salad, as a side carb or to add to soup.
3. When you are ready to eat, slice the Romaine lettuce in half vertically, trimming just the very end. Heat a griddle pan or large heavy skillet. Brush the lettuce with a little oil and lay in the hot pan (it must be quite hot), leaving it for a few minutes to get slightly charred and wilted. Carefully turn the lettuce with tongs and cook a little longer – about one minute.
4. To assemble, spoon some freekeh onto each plate, tuck in citrus slices, olives, red onion, rosemary and pistachios. Squeeze over the citrus ‘ends’ and drizzle over the remaining olive oil. Toss just a little with a fork and serve alongside the griddled Romaine lettuce and a grinding of fresh black pepper.More freekeh from Food To Glow:
Two More Citrussy Salads:
Citrus & Roasted Winter Vegetable Salad with Pomegranate Dressing from Food To Glow