This pairing of olives and juicy oranges is yet another brilliant combination of ingredients, dictated by necessity. My Albanian friends explained that the oranges their gardens produced were sour and full of pips, nothing like today's sweet, lush and pip-less fruits. Paired with salty olives and sweet baby leeks or onions, and often complemented with shredded cabbage, the oranges became a robust and delightful treat. In the old days, this salad would have been dressed simply with olive oil, the natural tartness of the oranges adding depth to the dish. I compensate for the sweeter oranges you are likely to find with a fragrant verjus or lemon dressing. Fresh or dried mint is the most commonly used herb in Albania, but I also like to add tarragon when available. In place of oranges, thick-skinned sweet lemons, like the ones from Amalfi, are often made into a similar salad.
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