Corfu Salad of Oranges, Red Onions and Olives

December 30, 2010

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I love salads with oranges!  I’d never had one until I started exploring the food of North Africa.  Once my antenna were up, I saw that many cultures use oranges in salads.  This is the first salad with oranges that I made, and I go back to it over and over.  It is especially good with rich Moroccan stews and tagines.  This recipe makes enough for six people but is also flexible.  So vary the quantities according to number of people and your tastes.

The Dressing

2 tablespoons orange juice                             3 tablespoons fruity olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice                              Pinch of cayenne pepper

Splash of red wine vinegar                               1/8 teaspoon paprika

Juice of one garlic clove (use press)           Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.  Note:  Juice will be expelled when you prepare the oranges.  I always just use that juice, whether it adds up to 2 tablespoons or not.

The Salad

4 seedless oranges (Navel or Valencia)

½ small red onion

18 brined or cured black olives (such as Kalamata, Nicoise or oil-cured Moroccan)

¼ preserved lemon rind, diced (optional)

12 mint leaves or ¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 head romaine lettuce, torn (optional)

Prepare the oranges by cutting off the top and bottom.  Use a knife to cut off the rind (vs. peel with your hands), including the white pith.  This is key to making sure the oranges are not bitter.

Cut oranges in ¼ inch slices, then cut those in half.  Slice the red onion, then cut into half-moons.  Cut the olives in half.  Cut the mint leaves into thin ribbons.   Tear the lettuce into medium pieces; wash and dry.

Assembling the Salad

Toss the lettuce in some of the dressing, then place on a platter.  There are two options after this:

  1. Arrange the oranges in overlapping slices on top of the lettuce.  Place the onion, preserved lemon and olives on top of the oranges.  Drizzle all with the remainder of the dressing.  Sprinkle the mint or cilantro on top and serve.
  2. Alternatively, toss all the ingredients – oranges through mint or cilantro- together with the remaining dressing and place on top of the lettuce.

Note: the lettuce is my addition.  Authentic North African salads of this type do not include it, but I think it adds great texture and flavor.  If you do not use lettuce, increase all other ingredients except the dressing.

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