Spicy Citrus Salad with Black Olives ~ this glorious salad in the Mediterranean tradition is an experience not to be missed. It’s proof positive that not all fabulous salads are leafy and green!
If you’ve never had a salad of citrus and olives, I think you’ll be glad you stumbled on this one today. These are flavors you don’t encounter in the US very often, but if you are familiar with the cuisines of any of the countries that line the Mediterranean sea, from Syria to Morocco you might have had a citrus, green olive, and fresh oregano salad, or maybe a plate of oranges paired with dates, and mint. Imagine tart white grapefruit layered with paper thin fennel, or berry-sweet blood oranges dotted with sharp feta. The food of this sunny region is lusty and colorful, and no one shrinks from mixing fruit with bold spices and herbs. Today’s Spicy Citrus Salad is a nod to that luscious tradition, and I’ve made it even more fun and colorful by mixing lots of citrus varieties.
I love to use citrus fruit in salads, it’s such a nice way to add a juicy burst of flavor to lots of different kinds of recipes ~ my classic CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD wouldn’t be the same without those tiny Mandarin orange segments, and they’re surprisingly tasty considering they come out of a can! A more unusual example is my ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUT AND POMELO SALAD…pomelo is a large grapefruit type citrus. You can use a little bit of fruit, or go all out like I did with my BLOOD ORANGE AND JICAMA SALAD.
For this citrus salad you’ll want to ‘supreme’ the fruit. That just means removing the individual segments from the membranes that separate them. It’s very easy to do, you just slice off both ends of the fruit and use a sharp serrated knife to slice away the rind, taking care not to remove too much of the fruit as you go. Then hold the peeled fruit in one hand and slice out each segment, leaving the membrane behind.
TIP: Use a sawing motion and a small sharp serrated knife like these to supreme citrus fruit, the serrations help remove the fruit without damaging the sections.
TIP: Like all fruit salads, this one is best eaten right away. If you like, you can supreme the fruit and save it in the refrigerator and then assemble the salad close to when you want to enjoy it. Remember to drain excess juice from the fruit.
*My Cara Cara and Blood Oranges come from the Limoneira ranch in Ventura County.
- 2 navel oranges
- 2 blood oranges
- 1 white grapefruit
- 1 red or pink grapefruit
- 2 Cara Cara oranges
- 2 cups parsley leaves
- 1 cup oil cured Moroccan olives
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp hot smoked paprika
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and taste to adjust any of them. Set aside.
- Remove the rinds and segment all of the citrus fruit. Drain off the excess juice and put in a large bowl.
- Chop the parsley and add to the bowl, along with the olives.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss lightly, and serve.
- Don’t skip the large amount of parsley in this salad, it adds a wonderful fresh flavor. And don’t be tempted to use another, stronger herb, like basil or thyme, which would overwhelm the citrus flavors.
- If you are using oil cured olives, they most likely contain pits, be sure to warn your diners.