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Blood Oranges & The Healthy Piazza Day

Posted in Caro Diario.(dear diary..), cucina, Features, La Dolce Vita, recipes, and the Mediterranean diet


copyright, 2009, Maria Liberati, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm 

January 31st has now been designated as “Le Arance della Salute in Piazza” (or loosely translated the healthy oranges in the square) Day by the AIRC or the Italian Association for Cancer Research.  Research has proven that this luscious gems provide a lot of strong antioxidants which have been found to help to prevent the formation of tumors..

So on January 31st many of the Piazze around Italy (2500 to be exact) will  have tables set up with volunteers  selling  bags of the oranges and proceeds go to cancer research in Italy.What a delicious way to help a great cause…

If you have never tasted a blood orange from Sicily you are really missing out on one of life’s wonders. They are worth a trip to Italy just to taste them or savor freshly squeezed juice..nothing like it…it is like eating orange sweet..and now is the season..

 I remember the first few times I had breakfast in a coffee bar here and began seeing the barristas squeezing thes oranges for fresh orange juice during the seaason. I decided to try a ‘spremuta’ (fresh juice) myself one day and became hooked. When assembling The Basic Art of Italian Cooking Kitchen here in Italy-that was one of our first appliances- a stainless steel  orange  juice that we could use the fresh juice in many recipes.

Everyone seems to be praising them and their virtues…

Here is a recipe to try, if you can’t get the blood oranges of Sicily-  navel oranges should do..

Braised lettuce with Oranges

For 4 people

1 head of romaine lettuce (1 pound)

1 can of chick peas

1 tblsp of extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

pinch of red hot pepper

4 fresh oranges

fresh coriander

salt and pepper to taste

Peel oranges and cut or break into sections or slices. Keep the juice that comes out of the oranges while cutting, in a glass.

Wash ,dry and chop the lettuce. Place 1/2 tblsp olive oil in saute pan, heat, place in chopped lettuce, pinch of salt,  2 cloves  of garlic and pinch of hot red pepper. Place chick peas in food processor with 1 tsp of olive oil, pinch of salt ,reserved orange juice and blend into a cream. Place cream on a flat dish.

Top with braised lettuce and top with orange slices, coriander leaves, drizzle with remaining olive oil adn a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.

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Mangia Bene, Vivi Bene


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