Spicy Orange Moroccan Salad

This week we’re up to #22, Amanda Hesser, food writer and longtime food editor of The New York Times Magazine, on Gourmet’s list of the 50 Women Game Changers in the world of food. Thanks to Mary from One Perfect Bite for organizing a group of us cooking and blogging our way through this list, one dish at a time.  Check back every Friday for another story and recipe from the list.

I do admit that I’m one of those lightweights who goes straight for the magazine section of the Sunday New York Times. And not for the crossword.  I go for the pretty pictures, the ads, and the recipes.  It’s Sunday, give me a break.  Amanda Hesser’s column Recipe Redux (from 2006–2011) was one of my favorites. If you’re not a NYT reader, this column highlights vintage recipes from the Times’ archives, and asks modern chefs to reinterpret them with their own contemporary flair.  The New York Times has been printing recipes since the mid 1880s, and so this column explores the breadth and evolution of American food history in a wonderfully hands on way.  Hesser has an acerbic wit, and so it’s fun to read her comments about past (and present) food trends, foibles, and crazes.

Interestingly, Hesser says that she was surprised that readers “almost universally preferred the old recipes to the new. The techniques were often simple and approachable, and the sentimental value of classics like chocolate mousse is immeasurable. The column, then, somewhat to my surprise, demonstrated that despite our hunger for the new, new, new, we’re even more ravenously interested in the old, old, old. But when you think about it, it makes sense: if we always had new types of food at home, we would lose touch with an essential part of our personal histories.” 

I chose one of the recipes from the Recipes Redux column, and, not surprisingly, I chose the vintage 1980s recipe for Spicy Orange Moroccan Salad over the contemporary interpretation.  This salad will kick start your taste buds into gear for the upcoming citrus season.  It would also be wonderful with blood oranges, pink grapefruit, or a mix of citrus.

Citrus salads are rooted in Mediterranean cuisines.  In Sicily it might be as simple as sliced oranges dressed with parsley, olive oil and black pepper.  Sometimes there will be red onion, or fennel, and a variety of fresh herbs.  I threw some crumbled feta on this salad at the last minute.

1980: Spicy Orange Salad, Moroccan Style
(This recipe appeared in an article in The Times by Craig Claiborne.)
3 large seedless oranges

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red-wine or sherry vinegar


Freshly ground black pepper

? cup chopped parsley

12 pitted black olives, preferably imported Greek or Italian.

  •  Peel the oranges, paring away all the exterior white pulp. Cut each orange into wedges. Cut each wedge into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
  • Place the cayenne, paprika, garlic, olive oil and vinegar in a salad bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and whisk to combine. Add the oranges, parsley and olives. Toss gently to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 4.

This salad is a winner. The salty tang of the Greek olives with the sweet juiciness of the oranges and the hint of cayenne pepper is taste I want to return to a lot this winter.  I’m looking forward to lots of variations of this salad when all the beautiful citrus starts coming into season in the next weeks.

I served this with lemony minted couscous and spiced lamb meatballs with a yogurt dipping sauce.



  • Reply
    Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits
    November 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    That photo of the salad could be posted on my wall. It’s so beautiful and colorful that it makes me think that the salad can taste nothing else but wonderful.

  • Reply
    Veronica Gantley
    November 4, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Not much on lamb, but I love that salad. You had me at olives. I adore them. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Can I come over for dinner? :D Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    November 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Funny you all should mention prunes—I’ve been craving them lately and I made a failed attempt at a prune muffin recipe this week, so I’ve given up on them for now. The olives look so plump because I accidentally bought them with the pits in.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Now that is one gorgeous looking salad. I love the combination of orange and olive flavors. This type of salad is wonderful with a winter stew and crusty bread. It helps to remind us of spring and summers bounty. This is a lovely recipe and you’ve given us gorgeous photos to accompany it. What time is dinner? Have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    November 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    That’s a knockout dinner! Those meatballs look amazing. And the salad is lovely and wintery and bright. I love those oil cured olives.

    I’ve always been a fan of Amanda Hesser.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Oh wow, that looks so great! I have a cold right now and that orange salad is calling my name!! and with the salty olives, sounds fantastic! I’ll be making this at some point.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    November 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Very nice change of pace – it looks and sounds fantastic. Love the olives and oranges and your photos are incredible! Thanks and have a lovely weekend.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Can I come over for dinner?! Looks so pretty – would love to try making this citrus salad.

  • Reply
    the gardener's cottage
    November 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    omg, this looks so good. i must try it. when i do i will report back.

  • Reply
    Susan Lindquist
    November 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Mmm! I want to come to dinner at your house! Excellent salad! Yes! I thought those olives were prunes too … and actually they wouldn’t be bad on that salad either! Love the whole meal you prepared! That Amanda Hesser surely is a powerhouse …

    Your photos are just beautiful, Sue!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    This Moroccan salad looks fantastic! Great post!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Your photos are marvelous, Sue. I enjoyed the post and the salad looks lovely…I thought the olives were prunes at first too! :)

  • Reply
    Heather @ girlichef.com
    November 4, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    “…if we always had new types of food at home, we would lose touch with an essential part of our personal histories.” <-----I just love that! This salad (& the meatballs) looks awesome. Those olives are so fat, I thought they were prunes at first glance. Ha! Delicious choice and a fun look at Amanda =)

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