Saturday, April 3, 2021



A traditional Málaga salad--potatoes, oranges, olives and cod.

So, is this a potato salad? It’s got potatoes, yes. Plus onions, olives and—oranges! The dish is dressed with extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and orange juice. It’s topped with flakes of cod or, if you prefer, chunks of tuna. It’s a very traditional salad in southern Spain, where I live, but nothing like the creamy mayo-based potato salads you’d find at a church supper in Midwest America, where I grew up.

In Spain, this is a winter-spring potato salad, much like the best known potato salad, patatas aliñadas, with cut-up oranges substituted for out-of-season tomatoes. If you visit Málaga, you’ll find it in tapa bars where it’s called ensalada malagueña.

This salad is served as a tapa.

The local olives are cracked, green, brine-cured ones. But black olives instead of green add contrast. Also, you can substitute chunks of tuna for the cod.

Last week I cut up a side of bacalao, salt cod, to prepare Bacalao con Tomate. In that recipe, I advised you to “save the thin and scrappy bits for another use.” The saved scraps of cod are perfect for this salad. But, if salt cod was never on your shopping list, use canned tuna. Or use diced smoked ham. Wouldn’t that be a pretty dish on the Easter table? 

In Spain, you can buy packaged migas of bacalao, “crumbs” of salt cod. If you’re starting out with pieces of cod (see last week’s blog about how to pre-soak them), poach the pieces in water to cover just until white foam starts to form. Do not let the cod boil. Drain and rinse the cod. While still warm, use your fingers to flake the cod, discarding all skin and bones.

Málaga Salad with Oranges, Potatoes and Cod
Ensalada Malagueña

Serves 4 as a starter.

2 medium potatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large oranges
1/3 cup chopped spring onions or scallions including some of the green tops
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
Salad greens (optional)
½ cup flaked cod or tuna
Green brine-cured olives
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 hard-boiled egg, quartered (optional)

Cook the whole potatoes in lightly salted water until they are tender when pierced with a skewer. Drain and allow the potatoes to cool.

Peel the potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise and slice them crosswise. Place the potatoes in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. 

How to peel oranges.

Prepare the oranges. Slice off top and bottom. Set the orange upright on cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut downwards, following the contour of the orange, removing skin and white pith.

Cut segments.

Either slice the oranges crosswise or use a thin-bladed knife to separate the segments from their membrane. Reserve the juice. 

Combine 2 tablespoons of reserved orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and the vinegar in a small bowl. Arrange the salad greens, if using, on a serving platter. Spread the potatoes on the platter. Arrange the oranges on top. Add the pieces of cod. Stud with olives. Drizzle the orange juice dressing over all the salad. Sprinkle with parsley. Garnish with quartered egg, if desired.

More salads with oranges:

More potato salads:

Some other ways to use up scraps of salt cod:


  1. That looks beautiful - I love salad with bacalao and in particular Xató salad.

    1. MadDog: It must be time for me to make Xató!

  2. *big Smile* Easy for me ! I am not particularly fond of potatoes. I never have mayonnaise in the house and rarely make it if really needed. If a potato salad does appear on the table not dressed in oil and vinegar light sour cream or yogurt probably are in play ! Yrs, I would very much call this a potato salad . . . a rather lovely and interesting one at that ! Love the oranges and the olives . . . this one will be made soonest, probably with tuns . . . thanks !

    1. Eha: You could make it with no potatoes, as in my pueblo. Just oranges, onions, olives and cod (or tuna).