Taking the mystery and fear out of cooking
Fruit and savoury things are, in my opinion, best kept apart. In the bad old days of the 1970s, when the British still thought there were only two cuisines – English and French – and that spaghetti came in tins, it was rare to find a decent menu that didn’t offer duck à l’orange, partridge with blackcurrants or something equally gruesome. You would order it and it was supposed to be sophisticated, so you would flick your long hair away from your moustachioed face, adjust the tight waistband of your flared trousers and get on with it.
So I was highly and pleasantly surprised to discover a combination that actually works. It is served cold, doesn’t cost much and anyone can do it: sliced oranges and salami with olive oil. Use it as a starter or have plenty of it and supplement with a salad of rice, pasta or potato.
Perhaps the only obstacle this presents is persuading other people that it’s a good idea and you haven’t finally lost your mind. But if you can do that – assuming you have persuaded yourself and agree with me – suddenly a whole new world has opened up and your imagination can break new ground.
So without further ado, the recipe.
Big, juicy oranges
Salami of your choice
Slice the oranges thinly and cut the peel off if you like (although there is no need).
Don’t peel the orange first and then try to slice it, because it will fall apart and you’ll have a mess to deal with.
Place a slice of salami in the middle of a plate. Just one if the salami is wider than the orange, or three in a triangle if it is smaller.
Put a slice of orange on top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and add a little freshly ground black pepper. Not too much, because the pepper can overpower the dish and change it dramatically on your tongue. And don’t add salt, because there is plenty of that in the salami.
For a garnish, do something arty with the olives. If you see a pomegranate on your travels, you can stud the dish with those little gems.
And that’s that. Genius or madman? Your guests will decide.