Arugula-Mint Salad with Oranges and Oil-Cured Olives

by Megg

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The other day, when I made braised chicken with Morrocan spices and dates, I wanted a refreshing salad to compliment the rich, warm main dish. Epicurious is one of my favorite sites to peruse when I’m in need of inspiration, and in no time I found a zesty Moroccan-inspired salad recipe.
The smoky olives mingle well with the zippy arugula, and the tangy-sweet oranges brighten everything up.  Then the salty goodness of quality sheep’s-milk feta rounds out the flavors, resulting in a truly delightful salad!  A friend once called me the “Queen of Weird Salads,” lovingly, in reference to my propensity to make salads that have fruit or other sweeter elements, but aren’t actually “sweet” salads.  Here I did my best to stay true to this title! ^_^ It was the perfect compliment to the warm spices and subtle sweetness of the chicken, but I’d enjoy this salad on it’s own anytime!
Orange-Marniated Onions

Arugula-Mint Salad with Oranges and Oil-Cured Olives
—adapted from Epicurious
Serves 6
For salad dressing:
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely-grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon orange-flavored liqueur (such as triple sec) OR orange-flower water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
For salad:
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion (about half of a medium-sized onion)
  • 4 large navel oranges
  • 5 ounces baby arugula (about 10 cups packed), rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup pitted oil-cured black olives, thinly sliced
  • 5 ounces feta cheese (preferably sheeps’ milk), cut into 1 1/2″ long by 1/4″ thick slices
1. First, make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, shallots, vinegar, lemon juice, orange peel, and orange-flavored liqueur.  While whisking, gradually add olive oil.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Separate 1/3 of the dressing.
2. In a large bowl, toss the sliced onion with the reserved 1/3 of dressing.  Let the onion marinate for about 20 minutes.
3. Peel the oranges and remove the pith.  Slice each orange, crosswise, into 8 even slices.
4. Once the onion has marinated, add arugula, mint leaves, and olives to the onion and toss.  Season with salt and pepper.  Re-whisk the dressing and add it to the salad and toss.
5. Divide up the salad onto 6 plates or bowls.  Arrange feta and orange slices among the salads.
Arugula-Mint Salad with Oranges and Oil-Cured Olives
So what do you think?  Would you call this salad “weird”? :)  What’s the most unique salad you’ve ever made?

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