Winter, and especially August, is prime citrus season – blood oranges, mandarins, lemons, tangelos, grapefruits are abundant, and can be seen hanging heavily on trees around the neighbourhood. My neighbour has a burgeoning lemon tree in their yard, I can see it from the street and sometimes they put out a basket filled with motley lemons for passers-by to take. It’s a common sight along footpaths in neighbourhoods where people have too much fruit they can’t use, from a tree probably planted long before they lived there.
In the depths of winter, when the fruit bowl is lacking, beautiful citrus (even better if they’ve been picked with some leaves left on), can bring sunshine to even the greyest day. The heady aroma of homegrown lemons and the contrast of the bright fruit and dark green leaves bring warmth, light and endless possibilities into my kitchen.
As we edge a little closer to spring, I want to make the most of the citrus which will soon come second-best to the emerging peas, broad beans and the first berries of the season. This is a recipe for a simple weeknight salad that is wintry at heart, but also very light and refreshing. Roasted cauliflower has become a staple in many households, ours too – here roasted with a very simple scattering of freshly ground spices, olive oil and salt. Slices of lemon and orange and plenty of herbs join in for the perfect antidote to the cold weather!
This salad keeps well too, so is great as lunch the next day. I like to use a variety of citrus here, a mixture of bitter, sour and sweet fruits are the perfect balance, but just use what you have on hand. Be generous with the herbs – think of them more as part of the salad rather than simply a garnish. If you want to make this salad a little more substantial, some cooked chickpeas, lentils or beans would be a lovely addition.