There’s a recipe for an Italian salad that features oranges, and it’s the kind of recipe that’s made for the best of occasions, anytime that friends and family gather on a special day. It’s astonishingly simple, made from only four ingredients and it’s so good that it seems like maybe there’s a bit of magic added, as a secret fourth ingredient. 

And though it may sound easy-peasy, elementary, something even a child could make, for me, this orange salad recipe is hard to make. Here’s the situation: this salad, in all of its beautiful simplicity, should not ever have anything added to it. That right there, is the problem. I cannot help but look at a recipe like this one and think about olives. Olives would surely make this better. Or pistachios. What food would not be improved with a sprinkling of pistachios? And what about cheese? Maybe a few wispy shavings of really good Parmesan cheese, nestled among the oranges, would elevate the entire dish. 

But no. No olives, No pistachios and definitely, no cheese. Just oranges, olive oil (the really, really good kind,) black pepper (the freshly ground kind,) and salt (the flaky, sea kind.) 

The oranges, obviously, are the star of this salad. It feels mandatory, in the middle of a cold and gray winter, to eat sunny, bright oranges. A plateful of oranges not only nourishes, but will improve disposition, I am sure of it. So slice up some oranges (and mix up the kinds and colors, if you will,) pour a drizzle of olive oil over them, and then crack black pepper, plenty of it, over all. The salt, just a bit of flakiness, brings together the acidic oranges, the rich olive oil and the warmth of black pepper. Put those items together, and then stop right there. The salad is done, and nothing, not one single thing, will make it any better. Buon appetito!

Orange Salad

Serves 4

Plate with blood orange slices in a circle, sitting atop bright orange slices also in a circle, sprinkled with pepper


  • 4 oranges (mix up the varieties: navel and blood work well together)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt


  1. Use a small, sharp knife to cut the ends from the oranges. Then slice off the peel.
  2. Cut each orange into ¼” thick rounds.
  3. Place the oranges on a plate, drizzle with the oil and crack fresh pepper over all.
  4. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, then add the sea salt and serve right away. 

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