Fresh oranges are peeled, thinly sliced crosswise, and then tossed with onions, olives and a fragrant vinaigrette made with cumin, curry, cilantro, and mint. The result is a startlingly colorful first course that is sure to jazz up any weeknight meal.
6 oranges (about 2 1/2 inches wide, 2 ½ pounds total; see note)
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Spice blend (see below)
1 mild red onion (6 ounces), peeled and sliced (see note)
1/2 cup finely slivered fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Real Salt to taste
About 1/2 cup black olives such as kalamata
Fresh mint leaves and fresh cilantro leaves, rinsed
Note: Juice-orange slices hold together better than those from navel oranges. If you are using a hot onion, put slices in a bowl and mix with 4 cups cold water, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 1 tablespoon salt; gently squeeze the slices, separating the rings. Let stand 10 minutes, then drain, rinse, and drain again.
Spice Blend: Combine 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon paprika or mild ground dried chili, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns or 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, 1/4 teaspoon curry powder, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon; if using whole spices, whirl mixture in a grinder or small food processor to a powder.
With a small, sharp knife, cut peel and white membrane from oranges. Slice the oranges crosswise 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and discard seeds.
In a small bowl, mix 4 tablespoons vinegar with olive oil and sugar. Stir in the spice blend.
In a wide, shallow bowl, gently mix orange slices, onions, slivered mint, and chopped cilantro. Pour in dressing and mix gently. Taste and add salt and more vinegar if desired.
Scatter olives, mint leaves, and cilantro leaves over the top. Spoon salad and dressing onto plates.
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