Thursday, March 10, 2016

Orange, Fennel and Olive Salad

One lone fennel bulb remained in the crisper, it's green-grocer partners already used in German potato salad (link), potato hash with sprouts and fennel (link), and a seafood soup (link). One fennel bulb... now what? Fennel has a pronounced anise-like flavor, one that takes center-stage in most dishes, but one small bulb wasn't much to work with. The Flavor Bible lists oranges, black olives and coriander among suggested pairings with fennel so I went with those ingredients to whip up a fast fennel salad. It was a good decision; we loved that flavor combination and the crunch. Salty olives, licoricey fennel and the sweet-tart tang of citrus play well together.   

Orange, Fennel, and Olive Salad
Serves 4        

1 fennel bulb, trimmed, reserving 1 to 2 tablespoons fronds
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 oranges (or 4 clementines)
1/4 cup small olives, pitted and halved 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coriander 
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Red-pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)

Halve, core, and thinly slice bulb (preferably on a mandoline). In a bowl, toss fennel with 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. 

Slice away peel and pith of oranges and cut flesh into segments. Add to bowl with fennel and stir in small olives such as Nicoise, reserved fennel fronds, and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with coriander, coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, and (optional) red-pepper flakes.

Note: this pairs well with fish, as a side dish or as the flavorings in a fish-in-parchment entree.

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