This Turkish orange and onion salad is a great addition to any summer menu. It’s light, refreshing, and a nice deviation from the usual greens. It also lacks the usual heavy or processed dressings. The simple dressing of olive oil, and herbs doesn’t overshadow the sweetness of the oranges. I love this salad!
The color contrasts in this Turkish orange and onion salad are beautiful. This is a Turkish salad whose name is Portakal Salatsi. The name Portakal is derived from Portugal. What’s the connection? Well, at one point in time the best oranges came from Portugal. Such was their fame that the Arabs actually changed their name for oranges from naranj to porteghal. Interestingly enough the word for orange in Spanish is naranja, which is derived from an old Sanskrit term naga ranga. I find the similarities in the words fascinating! By the way… my Puerto Rican friend informed me that in Puerto Rico, oranges are called Chinas!
Oranges are thought to have originated in Malaysia (SE Asia). They eventually made their way to China around 2200 B.C. They were offered as tribute to the emperor. This early on oranges were admired for their medicinal properties and the aromatic value of their essential oils.
Eventually, oranges made it to Europe via the Silk Road traders. By the end of the second century A.D. they featured at the lavish banquets of the Roman aristocracy. Oranges were taken to the New World by Christopher Columbus who consequently planted the first orange tree in the Americas. The first American plantation of oranges was in St. Augustine, Florida. During the gold rush in California, certain unscrupulous doctors made a hefty profit by selling orange juice to scurvy afflicted prospectors. The dose? A spoonful!
Needless to say, this Turkish orange and onion salad goes perfect with grilled kebabs or any other grilled meat for that matter. Take it to your next picnic, and your friends will love you. Or, enjoy it as a quick side to a weeknight meal. It’s a great and delicious way to get your vitamin C.
Now, orange you glad I posted this recipe? Sorry, I could not resist!
This recipe was adapted from the book “The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking” by Ghillie Basan
Orange and Onion Salad
Turkish or Portakal Salatsi orange and onion salad goes perfect with grilled kebabs or any other grilled meat for that matter. Take it to your next picnic, and your friends will love you. This has a nice contrast of flavors of sweet and savory.
- 3 oranges cut into slices ( sweet naval oranges work nicely)
- 1 red onion sliced thin
- 8 Kalamata olives
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- Peel the oranges and remove the surrounding pith.
- Slice oranges to a thickness of 1/4" and place on a large serving platter.
- Slice onion thinly. Place in a container and sprinkle with salt. Allow them to sit for about 10 minutes.
- Place onions on top of the sliced oranges. Scatter the olives on top.
- To prepare the dressing: In a small bowl whisk together olive oil,thyme, and oregano
- Drizzle over oranges.
- Serve with a sprinkling of sumac, and mint garnish.