Salad of Bitter Herbs and Oranges

Gnarled horseradish root in its native state may look positively prehistoric, but it was not the original maror, or bitter herb, of the ancients. Biblical scholars surmise that greens like chicory, dandelion, sorrel, and hyssop, which grow wild in Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, first symbolized the bitterness of bondage at seders.

Many Jews still use bitter greens, especially romaine, not only for maror, but also for hazeret, the other bitter herb called for on some seder plates. Why eat two different bitter herbs? According to the Mishnah, since the Bible speaks of bitter herbs in the plural, we are required to eat more than one kind.

This salad, combining several of these bitter herbs with chunks of fresh orange, offers a lovely contrast to a lush brisket or braised lamb.

Ingredients

For the Dressing

  • cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad

  • 12 to 14 cups mixed greens (choose three or more of the following: arugula, sorrel, watercress, Belgian endive, romaine, radicchio)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 4 to 6 thinly sliced scallions (use white and pale green parts)
  • ½ cup snipped fresh dill
  • 2 blood or navel oranges, peeled and white pith removed, quartered lengthwise and sliced widthwise

Method

Make the dressing: combine the lemon juice, shallot, thyme, and zest in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the greens in a large bowl. Top with the radishes, scallions, and dill. Toss with enough of the dressing to coat. Add the oranges and toss again.

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