This is a delightful Moroccan Salad, simple to make and delicious to eat. Oranges and dates are both special in Morocco, and this brings them together in a vivid salad plate for the centre of the table. The dressing is one with spices – cinnamon, fennel, pepper, garlic – and orange blossom water to boost the orange flavour.
The recipe is one of Ottolenghi’s salads that is herb based (see Ettie’s Salad and Celery and Lemon Salad, from Plenty More, for example). Salads based on herbs are common from Afghanistan right around to Israel and Palestine, and through the Mediterranean across to the coast of Africa. Some are very simple – Irani Herbs with Radishes and Salt (no dressing), for example, and the Turkish Bowl of Herbs with a simple dressing. Then there is an Orange Salad, just with a simple dressing. This one is more complex and Ottolenghi has combined several of those simpler salads into one, very delicious, salad.
Similar recipes include Moroccan Orange and Olive Salad, Spinach and Watercress Salad with Ricotta, Moroccan Salad with Radishes, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, Halloumi and Orange Salad, and Chilli Orange Olive Salad.
Orange and Date Salad with Fennel Orange Dressing
5 medium oranges, peeled and cut in slices
3 large Medjool Dates, pitted and sliced lengthwise
120g red radishes, sliced paper thin
0.5 medium red or white onion, sliced thinly into rings
30g coral or oakleaf lettuce, or similar lettuce – red leaf lettuce is nice
60g rocket leaves
15g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
15g mint, roughly torn
15g parsley, roughly chopped
2 Tblspn lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tspn orange blossom water
0.5 tspn cinnamon
2 tspn fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
3 Tblspn olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
make the dressing: Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, orange blossom water, cinnamon and fennel seeds. Add the zest from half an orange, the olive oil, salt and a generous grind of pepper, and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
prepare the oranges: Use a small, sharp knife to trim tops and tails from oranges. Cut down sides of the oranges, following their natural curves, to remove the skin and white pith. Slice into 5 mm–thick pieces and remove the pips.
assemble the salad: Place oranges and remaining ingredients in a large salad bowl. Stir the dressing and pour it over the salad. Gently stir everything together, pile onto a large, shallow bowl and serve.
recipe notes and alternatives
Cutting the peeled orange into segments also makes a very nice salad.