Insalata D’arancio e Limone, Orange and Lemon Salad ~ a unique vintage citrus salad recipe straight from the heart of Sicily.
Vintage cookbooks are like a window into another world from the perspective of the kitchen table. I picked up The Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Lo Pinto at the thrift store the other day. It was published in 1948, before most Americans knew anything or cared to know anything about Italian food outside of spaghetti and meatballs. In fact the book has a huge glossary right up front to define terms like pasta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta! It’s hard to believe that just 50 years ago these foods were considered exotic.
The first generation author shares recipes from her mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens back in Italy, so it’s a direct a link to an old cuisine relatively untouched by outside influences. Nowadays when food is completely international it’s exciting to find ‘old world’ recipes that haven’t been brought up to date to changed from the way they were done for many generations.
My volume is stuffed with bookmarks. Some of the recipes are classic like gnocchi, lady fingers and veal Parmesan. Others, like Minnow Pancakes, are juuuuuust outside my comfort zone. Most of the recipes are very simple, with short ingredient lists and easy preparation. To our modern eye they might seem almost too simple. This Orange and Lemon Salad caught my eye right away.
I love lemons, but the idea of biting straight into one is a little daunting. I was surprised by how the olive oil tamed the tartness of the lemon, and my addition of the olives balanced the citrus. This would be a nice unexpected salad to serve with traditional heavier Italian food like spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna.
- 3 large lemons (I chickened out and used milder and sweeter Meyer lemons)
- 3 large oranges
- 1 head lettuce (I used a spring mix)
- 1/2 tsp chopped mint (I used a lot more mint, a big handful at least)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil (I used more)
- salt and pepper to taste
- I threw in a cup of Kalamata olives
- and a touch of sherry vinegar
- Peel and section the lemons and oranges. (A sharp serrated grapefruit knife is helpful here)
- Toss the fruit with the olive oil, mint, salt and pepper
- Serve over the lettuce