Wild Thyme and Blood Orange Salad

Zahter Salatasi

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Wild thyme ( zahter ) grows near the southeastern city of Antakya (once known as Antioch, where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians). The locals use the fresh leaves to make salads and an invigorating form of tea, and use the dried leaves as a substitute for oregano in meat dishes. The region was formerly part of Syria, only added to the Turkish republic in 1938, so its food is surprising to most Turks. In addition to this salad, we can credit the Antakyans with künefe (page 334) and muhammara sauce.

Ingredients

  • 10 thyme sprigs
  • 5 oregano sprigs
  • 3 spring onions (scallion(s))
  • 1 green chilli (optional)
  • 1 garlic shoot (if available)
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Method

Pick the leaves off the thyme and oregano. Discard the stalks. Wash the spring onions, then remove and discard the roots and tough outer leaves. Finely chop. Remove the seeds and stalk from the chilli (if you are using it) and finely chop. Finely chop the garlic shoot. Mix together in a salad bowl.

Peel the oranges and divide into segments, removing the white pith. Add to the salad bowl. Splash on the olive oil and salt, toss together and serve.