Fennel and Blood Orange Salad with Poppyseed VinaigretteCourse: SALADSCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
One of the bright spots in late winter are Blood Oranges. Not only do they look intriguing, their flavor is sublime. To me they taste almost like sweet tarts and they pair beautifully with the anise flavor of fennel.
If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend purchasing a Mandoline slicer to shave your fennel as thinly as possible for this salad. Every chef, in every restaurant kitchen I’ve worked in, uses one to shave fennel, despite having excellent knife skills. And you don’t need an expensive one! Just a small hand held one will do (this style is typically called a Japanese mandoline- to differentiate from the French one that is much larger).
I hope you give this refreshing salad a try!
1 large fennel bulb, fronds removed for use as garnish
3 blood oranges (Cara Cara, Navel, or Mandarin Oranges all work well too)
2 tbsp mint, torn or roughly chopped
1 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp poppy seeds
freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp salted, shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped (optional, but recommended)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together honey and vinegar. Continue whisking and drizzle in olive oil. Add poppy seeds and whisk to combine. Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- To prepare fennel for shaving, slice off the base using a chef’s knife. Next, cut the fennel vertically, to reveal the core. Using a paring or chef’s knife, remove the core. Grabbing fennel by the base, shave it using a mandoline slicer.
- Slice the stem side (top) and bottom side off of oranges to reveal flesh. With either cut side of oranges on cutting board, slice off rinds (knife will be perpendicular to cutting board). Make sure to remove all pith (white membrane). Slice oranges horizontally to create circular slices. Place fennel in bowl with dressing and toss lightly. Season fennel to taste with Kosher salt and pepper. To plate salad, lay a few orange slices on a platter. Top the orange layer with a thin layer of dressed fennel. Repeat layers, finishing with a little fennel on top. Garnish with mint, fennel fronds and pistachios, if using. Drizzle any remaining dressing on top of salad and serve immediately.