Perhaps your new favourite potato salad!
Our parents are from the Peloponnese region of Messinia, the western-most peninsula of the part of Greece that looks a little like a hand which is missing a finger. Messinia is where our heart lies in Greece, and where many of the recipes which we share originate. However, the Peloponnese is rich with variety and this potato and orange salad is named for the middle finger of the Peloponnese, the Mani peninsula.
The story goes that in this land rich with olives groves and citrus fruit, farmers and shepherds would pack food staples from home and supplement this with the oranges they would pick while working. All the goodies would be combined, and the result was this potato and citrus salad known as a Maniatiki. There are many variations to this basic salad, and we particularly like the freshness that is added when fresh fennel is included. We hope that you do too!
We don’t specify the type of potato to use here, because really, any white or yellow fleshed potato will do. Our parents usually choose red-skinned or yellow fleshed potatoes, but you can experiment with what you like. Sweet potatoes however would not do.
Although the potatoes in a Maniatiki salad are usually peeled, there is nothing to stop you from keeping the peel on if that’s what you would prefer. Scrub the skin well of course prior to boiling your potatoes.
The most complicated part of this salad may be segmenting your oranges. We find that the easiest way to do this is to ensure that you have a sharp paring knife. Cut off the top and bottom of the oranges and with your knife, remove the rest of the peel, cutting away the white pith. When you are left with a naked, pith-less orange use your knife to cut between the membrane which is enclosing each segment. It is best to do this over a bowl to collect any of the juices that will be released; this fresh orange juice can be used in the dressing. If you want to watch someone do this, you can click on the link to this video which is pretty clear. (That is not us in the video by the way!)
If you don’t want to bother pitting your Kalamata olives, go ahead and leave the pit in. It does make eating easier however if the pit is removed. The easiest way to remove the pit is to press down on the olive with the blade of a large knife. The olive will have a slit in it, and the pressure will cause the pit to dislodge and you will be able to remove it relatively easily. Whether you keep the pit in or not, using Kalamata olives is pretty essential.
Mia Kouppa: Maniatiki Salad (Potato salad with oranges and fennel)
- 3-4 medium size potatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 fennel bulb, cut into slivers
- 2 oranges, cut into segments with the pith and membrane removed
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped up fennel fronds Dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- Peel the potatoes and cut them in half. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover them. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and boil for about 20 minutes, until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
- Drain, and let the potatoes cool. Once they have cooled, cut them into bite-sized cubes.
- In a bowl large enough to hold all of your salad ingredients, combine the potatoes, fennel, oranges, red onion, capers, olives, parsley and fennel fronds.
- Combine all of your dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Alternatively, place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and using a rubber spatula toss gently to ensure that all ingredients are coated with the dressing.
- This salad is best served shortly after preparing it. Enjoy!