Orange and Black Olive Salad

from The Miracle of Salt

Orange salad is a dose of brilliant color and freshness in midwinter, when citrus fruits are in season. I remember my first encounter with it in Morocco, where it was set out on a table of many salads at a busy restaurant in the Atlas Mountains. It’s a wonderful example of the way that salt, sweet, and acid can play together on the tongue, becoming greater than the sum of their parts. Serve as an appetizer, or to accompany grilled meat or vegetables, or a hearty winter stew.

The salad is adapted from a recipe in the North Africa chapter of Flatbreads & Flavors. 

Serves 4 as a side salad or appetizer


5 large, juicy oranges

About ½ cup/100 grams small salt-cured black olives (Moroccan, if you can find them)

½ teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted and ground to a powder

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste

¼ cup/8 grams finely chopped fresh mint

Generous pinch of chile pepper flakes or hot pimentón (smoked paprika), to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch of sugar (optional)


Peel the oranges and use a knife to remove all the pith. Working on a large plate or rimmed surface to catch the juices, cut the oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch/
0.5 cm slices. Separate the slices into segments, discarding any remaining white pith and connecting tissue. (This may seem finicky, but it’s quickly done.) Transfer the cleaned segments to an attractive bowl and add the olives. Set the juice aside in a small bowl. 

Combine the coriander, garlic, and salt in a mortar or a bowl and use the pestle or the back of a spoon to pound or press to a paste. Add the mint, chile flakes or pimentón, and olive oil and stir to blend well. Stir in the reserved orange juice. Taste the dressing and add the sugar, if you wish. 

Pour the dressing over the oranges and olives, toss lightly to coat, and serve.

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: I love salads and it’s refreshing to find a nice winter one that has such great flavor and allows for Mediterranean dreams! 

Excerpted from The Miracle of Salt by Naomi Duguid (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2022. Photo credit Richard Jung