Summer’s heat has definitely arrived and the thought of being cooped up in a warm kitchen slaving over meals is enough to make me want to eat salads all summer long. Does the thought of juicy, sweet orange slices sprinkled with thinly sliced red onions and salty green olives sound refreshingly good? I recently had a salad in Greece with all those ingredients and came home with the desire to duplicate the sweet-saltiness of this colorful dish. Searching some of my Mediterranean food cookbooks, I came up with a good basic recipe that only needed a few slight changes. For the salad dressing I used an olive oil that had been infused with the peels of blood oranges and I added the frozen orange juice concentrate to thicken, sweeten, and flavor the dressing. Plating the oranges on a bed of fresh spring greens instead of directly onto the platter made it a more substantial and nutritious salad.
Orange, Onion, and Olive Salad
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking
4-5 navel oranges
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced (plus or minus depending on your liking of onions)
1/2 cup olives, cut in half and pitted (I prefer green)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Mixed salad greens, optional
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 T frozen orange juice concentrate
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (infused with the essence of oranges, if possible)
Makes 1/2 cup of dressing.
1. To slice the oranges stand one on a cutting board with the stem end up and the navel end down. Using a sharp knife, slice off the “north and south polar caps” of each orange so it has a flat base. Now cut “longitudinally” downward to cut both the peel and pith (white membrane) away from the orange, making sure you are following the contour of the fruit. Cut each peeled orange crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices and save any juice that accumulates on the board.
2. Make the salad dressing by mixing the orange juice collected from the cutting board with the rest of the dressing ingredients, except for the extra virgin olive oil. Now whisk in the oil. Set aside.
3. Place mixed spring greens on a serving platter. Arrange orange slices on the bed of greens. Sprinkle the onion slivers over the oranges.
4. Scatter the olives over the oranges and drizzle with the dressing. Let sit at cool room temperature for 10-15 minutes for flavors to blend. Sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.