Inspired by my Moroccan cookery class this weekend, as well as it being citrus season, here is a lovely recipe for Moroccan Blood Orange And Date Salad. The orange blossom water, preserved lemon and sumac can all be found at world food markets, they are inexpensive, last a long time and once you have them, you can try them in other dishes for a splash of Moroccan flavour.
Sumac is the flowering part of the a shrub in the genus Rhus. It grows in substropical temperate regions, especially Africa and North America. The fruits are ground into a reddish-purple powder and used in as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a lemony taste to dishes. It is also found in the spice mixture za’atar.
MOROCCAN BLOOD ORANGE AND DATE SALAD
3-4 blood oranges
150g dried dates
2 tbsp orange blossom water
1/2 preserved lemon (peel only)
1 tsp sumac
1. Cut the skin away from the orange, while still whole. Place the oranges on a plate to catch the juice and finely slice the oranges into circles or half moons. Remove and discard the seeds , then put the slices in a shallow bowl with the juices.
2. Slice the dates finely lengthways and scatter over the oranges. Pour the orange blossom water over the oranges and dates, cover the bowl and place for 15 minutes so that the flavours mingle and the dates soften.
3. Cut the preserved lemon in half, remove all of the flesh, seeds and pith and finely slice or chop the peel. Scatter the preserved lemon and sumac over the oranges and dates and gently toss to combine. Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle with a bit more sumac and enjoy.