My friend made this delicious fennel salad and brought it to our Italian supper club dinner. Amid all of the rich foods on our table, this fresh, crisp salad was a welcome oasis. I craved it afterwards and had to make it myself, but a snowstorm was coming and I didn’t have the motivation to go out and get the proper ingredients- blood oranges and those black, wrinkly olives from the olive bar. I took the easy way out and used regular oranges and kalamatas from a jar. It was a mistake- my iteration was a bootleg version of how this salad should really be made. But even with these inferior ingredient choices, the salad was still really good. Even David, who doesn’t like olives or fennel, had more than one serving! I can only imagine how much he will like it when I make it again properly.
To enjoy this fennel salad for yourself, get 2 fennel bulbs, and cut the green stalks off of them. Cut the fennel bulbs in halve lengthwise, and use a knife to cut out the triangular core from the centers.
Then, set a mandoline to its thinnest setting, and slice the fennel bulbs crosswise. Fill a bowl with cold water, and add in the fennel slices to crisp up while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Get 2 blood oranges, and cut them into supremes. To do so, use a sharp, flexible knife and cut the top and bottom off of the orange. Place the orange on a flat surface, and run the knife down the curve of the orange to cut off the skin. Once the skin is off, use the knife to slice into the orange on either side of each membrane to pop the orange segments, membrane free, out of the orange. Add the orange segments to a large bowl.
Roughly chop up 1 cup of pitted, black olives- the kinds that are cured in olive oil and wrinkly. I love the deep flavor they add to this salad (my jarred kalamatas didn’t deliver). Add the olives to the bowl.
Drain the fennel slices from the cold water, and pat them dry. Add them into the bowl. Sprinkle over 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Drizzle over about 6 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Toss the salad, taste it, and adjust any ingredients.
Transfer the salad to plates and serve. This salad is much more beautiful when it’s made with red, blood orange segments. But either way, it is crisp, refreshing, and delicious.
This recipe is from Lidia’s Italy.
- Fennel- 2 bulbs
- Blood orange- 2
- Black, wrinkly olives- 1 cup
- Lemon- 1
- Olive oil- 6 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper