The Chef’s Take: Gerard Craft’s Orange Salad at Pastaria
It's the dead of winter in most of the country, and a salad of sweet, juicy oranges is like sitting in the warmth of the summer sun. Gerard Craft, the five-time James Beard-nominated Best Chef: Midwest, is serving a beautiful Orange Salad tossed with picholine olives, tarragon leaves, red onion and extra virgin olive oil at Pastaria, one of his four St. Louis restaurants (others are Niche, Brasserie by Niche and Taste by Niche).
"I tend to pick things that I would want to eat myself," he said of this salad based on a classic Italian dish. "It's so easy to put together, but it's always kind of a star because it's really refreshing and really hits a lot of different notes."
With its bright flavors, this citrus salad would make a perfect light lunch or side dish to a supper of grilled fish or chicken. It's a dish that fits well with Craft’s lifestyle; he's an avid runner and biker. He's not a fan of dieting, but he does try to eat sweets in moderation. "I have to have a couple of tastes of gelato on a given day — it's part of what makes me happy," he says. "Exercise helps me keep the balance, both mentally and physically fit. But I don’t think it's good for your mind to diet. You gotta have tasty food — doesn’t have to be a lot of it."
5 large oranges, such as navel oranges, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
Toss all ingredients together, season as needed, and serve immediately.
Andrea Strong is a freelance writer whose work has appeared everywhere from The New York Times to Edible Brooklyn. She's probably best known as the creator of The Strong Buzz, her food blog about New York City restaurants. She lives in Queens with her two kids, her husband and her big appetite.