Salad Season is Here
Spring is creeping, ever so slowly, into my reality here in Minnesota. We are all waiting with bated breath for the sunshine, so I thought I’d make a salad that’s like a big burst of sunshine in a bowl. This Shaved Fennel and Orange Salad is a juicy and tangy way to enjoy the citrus of winter as we wait for the first berries and sprouts to come to fruition.
My Favorite Citrus Fruits
A juicy orange is a delicious experience, eaten out of hand. But a combination of three kinds of citrus in one bowl gives you an opportunity to truly taste that orange, in contrast to other varieties and their varying levels of acidity, sweetness, and unique flavors. In this salad, the sweet pink grapefruit provides a layer of slightly puckery, grapefruit tang. Cara Cara oranges are my favorite orange of the moment, with their pinkish flesh and hints of berry and cherry flavors. Then, to top it off, the bracing scarlet fruit of a blood orange. You never know how tart or sweet a blood orange will be until you try it-sometimes they are as tart as a lemon, other times as sweet as a navel. This one had a good backbone of acid to complement the other fruit.
Raw Fennel For a Sweet Licorice Twist
Fennel bulbs may look like swollen celery bunches, but they have an enigmatic black licorice flavor that complements the citrus well. I used a mandoline to make the slices as thin as I could, and tossed them with lemony dressing to further soften the sturdy stems. If you haven’t used fennel before, this is a good place to start- and if you have some leftover stems and bulb, roast them in a 400 F oven, with olive oil, covered, until tender and browned.
A Kiss of Mint
Then with all these tangy, juicy, licoricey events happening in the bowl, a scatter of fresh spearmint sets it all off for a truly refreshing, energizing salad.
Give it a try, and get ready for Spring salads right around the corner.
Shaved Fennel and Orange Salad
- 2 large red grapefruits
- 2 cara cara oranges
- 2 blood oranges
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- Cut away the peel and pith of the citrus, then slice into rounds. Arrange the slices on a platter.
- Use a mandoline to thinly shave the fennel. Put in a medium bowl. Save a few tufts of the fennel fronds for garnishing the salad.Chop half of the mint and add to the fennel. In a cup, whisk the lemon, olive oil and salt, then add half to the fennel, toss to mix.
- Pile the fennel in the middle of the salad, and drizzle the remaining dressing over the greens. Garnish with remaining mint and fennel fronds.
- Serve immediately.