Moroccan Orange & Date Salad

Oranges, pistachios, dates and cumin—a quartet of ingredients common to North Africa—makes a unique, refreshing flavor combination. This salad is fancy enough for company yet easy enough for everyday. I’ve made it several times for large gatherings with my California family. All ingredients, the dressing too, can be prepared ahead and stored in separate containers. I often double or triple the recipe. At Dave and Alicia’s one time, we enjoyed this as a first course. Before we sat down to dinner, I placed salad plates on everyone’s dinner plates, then topped each with a pretty lettuce leaf, orange slices, pistachios and dates. I drizzled each serving with the minty cumin-laced dressing. It was a hit, and still is.
Orange trees are just starting to flower here in California. Take a look at our colleague’s blog for a bevy of ideas using these tangy fruits. Yumm! ( I am totally the “queen of tarts”, whether it’s vinegars, tangerines, lemons or limes.  Just splash it on! )

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Moroccan Orange & Date Salad
Serves 6 to 8

1/2       cup Nakano seasoned rice vinegar *
2          Tbsp. olive oil
2          Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
1          Tbsp. chopped mint
1/8       tsp. ground cumin
Butter lettuce
4          large navel oranges, peeled and sliced
1/3       cup chopped dates
1/3       cup coarsely-chopped pistachios

For the dressing, combine rice vinegar, olive oil, onion, mint and cumin; set aside. Line a serving platter or individual salad plates with lettuce leaves. Arrange orange slices over lettuce. Sprinkle with dates and pistachios. Drizzle with dressing.
An original recipe by Rita Held

* Rice vinegar is mildy tangy compared to most vinegars — just 4% acidity.  And seasoned rice vinegar has a bit of salt and sugar added, making it an ideal match for all kinds of fruits, citrus included. I developed this recipe for Nakano quite a few years back.

NOTE:  We think the blog gremlins may have visited us. If you did not get our most recent posts, Rosie’s Get-Healthy Blueberry Bran Muffins and Rita’s secret gravy,  scroll down here just a bit to see these recipes.

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