In honor of Easter when ovens far and wide are stuffed full of ham and potatoes, I thought I would post a recipe that was a little on the lighter side. This is a salad that is haute enough for company and simple enough to whip up for a quick dinner.
While most people don’t have fennel bulbs laying around their houses, all the other ingredients are likely to be on hand.
The first step is to pick a fennel bulb. I had no idea what one should look for in a fennel bulb, (Mom, why did you not cover this when you were teaching me to knock on melons?) so I picked the one with the cutest tufts of leaves.
|Oh hello, little fennel.|
When you get home put your bulb on the counter and take pictures of it, admiring how cute it is.
Then get down to business. Remove the hard outer layers of the bulb. (Again, I have no idea what I was doing here, I just figured that hard outer part wouldn’t be very good in my salad so I tossed it.) The inner layers of the bulb will be more moist and it will be easier to slice thin. Lay the bulb on its side and shave thin layers off the bulb. The key point here is to have a large sharp knife. The thinner the better for the shaved fennel, the anise flavor is intense and can be overwhelming if the pieces are too large.
Next, slice an orange into thin segments. However you want to go about this is up to you. I simply peeled the orange into the segments and then sliced each segment in half lengthwise so the flesh was revealed.
In a bowl stir together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and orange zest. Toss the fennel, orange slices, and dried cranberries in the bowl to coat. Plate and serve.
The vinegar dressing takes the bite off of the strong, anise flavored fennel. I would imagine this dish would be great if it was prepared in advance and given time to marinate.
Fennel and Orange Salad
1 fennel bulb
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest