Sephardic Recipes With A Modern Twist

Sephardic Spice Girls

Moroccan Orange and Cured Olive Salad

Moroccan Orange and Cured Olive Salad

This salad is lovely and so refreshing when served with cold oranges. Easy to make, so pretty and healthy too.

Recently, I was sitting in my office and my phone rings and I see that the call is from David Suissa, editor of the Jewish Journal. I get a little nervous because I’m wondering “What did we do wrong?” (You know that feeling when you’re called to the principal’s office and you’re not sure if you’re in trouble?)

Happily, he’s calling from his mother’s home in Montreal. He sounds excited and his sisters are laughing in the background. He tells me that his mother has cooked dinner for all of them and served their favorite Moroccan orange and black olive salad. 

The sisters mentioned to David that the Sephardic Spice Girls also make this salad. He replied that he had never seen it and that we’d never done an article on it. 

I confirmed that yes, we have posted the salad on Instagram. Meme Suissa pipes up in the background and says “But you put onion!” 

I start laughing because I know that she means that I am messing with the recipe. 

I promise her that when I serve it to my family I never put onion because my dad would hate it. But for Instagram, the purple onion just made the picture so much prettier. She conceded the point. Then David’s sisters got back on the phone. 

We had a lovely conversation about food and different recipes and it was like reuniting with long lost cousins. 

Writing as the Sephardic Spice Girls has really connected Sharon and I with so many people. We get so many messages from people saying that seeing recipes that they thought were lost has brought tears to their eyes. I’m also really proud that recording our Moroccan recipes has brought such joy to our editor. 

The flavors of the Moroccan kitchen are unique and interesting and inventive. The list is long but it includes the blending of many different spices, red-hot harissa, bright and briny preserved lemon, mouthwatering matbucha and the slow cooking tajines. 

There is a layered complexity where a salty dish will be offset with sweetness and spice. 

This Moroccan orange salad with cured black olives is a perfect example.

And my father eyes light up when he sees it on our Shabbat table. 

—Rachel

Sometimes I find it ironic that I write a food blog because I rarely follow recipes. I’m inspired by recipes but I rarely follow them faithfully. When you know the technique and correct temperature and what seasonings work and how much salt you need, you just throw it altogether. (Baking, on the other hand, is a science that doesn’t leave much room for messing around.)

The refreshing bright citrus of the orange contrasts with the deep salty dryness of the olives. The dressing of lime, olive oil, paprika and cayenne pepper adds a citrusy, spicy kick. 

This salad is lovely and so refreshing when served with cold oranges. Easy to make, so pretty and healthy too. The refreshing bright citrus of the orange contrasts with the deep salty dryness of the olives. The dressing of lime, olive oil, paprika and cayenne pepper adds a citrusy, spicy kick. Garnishing with cumin seeds adds another dimension to the explosively delicious flavors. 

So take this recipe and make it the way it’s written. Or be inspired to do it your way. 

Put the salad on a bed of arugula, add minced garlic to the dressing or garnish with fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro or mint. And purple onion is okay too!

—Sharon

MOROCCAN ORANGE AND CURED OLIVE SALAD

Dressing
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoon argan oil or a fruity extra
virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a bowl, whisk the lime juice and olive oil, then add paprika, cayenne and salt.
Set aside.

3 medium oranges, chilled in the
refrigerator
1/2 cup oil-cured dried black olives, pitted
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or 1/8 teaspoon
cumin powder

Peel oranges. Slice into 1/8 inch thick circles and deseed.
Arrange orange slices on a plate, then sprinkle olives on top.
Pour dressing over the salad.
Sprinkle with cumin seeds or cumin powder.


Sharon Gomperts and Rachel Emquies Sheff have been friends since high school. The Sephardic Spice Girls project has grown from their collaboration on events for the Sephardic Educational Center in Jerusalem. Follow them on Instagram @sephardicspicegirls and on Facebook at Sephardic Spice SEC Food.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.