Fennel & Orange Salad


dsc_0020In our “comeback post” I promised that things wouldn’t be as virtuous as the Green Quinoa Salad going forward but clearly I lied.  As the more cunning of you will have deduced from the title of this post, today is another salad day.  Hooray I hear you say!

The good news is though, this is completely yummy, contains cheese thus making it less virtuous, looks beautiful and is very easy to make. 

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So why all the salad posts you ask??  Well for starters we live in Singapore so summery fresh food is always needed.  As a result I’ve been on a mission to find new salad recipes.  I tend to get stuck in a rut producing Greek or green salads whenever a salad is called for but there are so many more interesting things out there.

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I’ve also been trying to broaden our diet to ensure we’re “eating the rainbow” (if you buy into all that…).  As with making the same sort of salad or food all the time, it’s easy to end up buying the same old fruit and veg week after week.  So we’ve been mixing it up here at PP HQ.

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And mixing it up meant an impulse purchase of a beautiful looking bulb of fennel.  But what on earth to do with it??  I love the idea of fennel but my best efforts at cooking it in the past have resulted in something chewy, stringy and a bit yukky looking!

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Fear not though, a bit of googling revealed a recipe by Ottolenghi for fennel and orange salad.  Perfect – no cooking required!  And it was a complete hit.  Since discovering it over the summer, the salad has become a regular fixture on our menu.

I’ve made some changes along the way, including the addition of feta (got to keep the Perky Kebab happy) and the removal of tarragon leaves which I felt overwhelmed this quite delicate salad.

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It goes beautifully with anything barbecued, cold roast chicken, or even just some bread as a lunch (the recipe below would serve 2 as a main with a little left over).  The great thing is, as with most things Ottolenghi-related, it looks completely stunning so makes a beautiful centrepiece to a meal if you’re having guests.

This time last year: Feta With Sesame Seed & Honey
This time 2 years ago: Peanut Butter & Chocolate Blondies
This time 3 years ago: Pear & Chocolate Frangipane Tart

Fennel & Orange Salad

Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Guardian Weekend Column January 2o16
Serves 4 as an accompaniment

1 large fennel bulb
2 large oranges
20g mint, leaves only roughly chopped
20g coriander, leaves only
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
75g feta cheese

To make:
  1. Start by toasting the fennel seeds.  Heat a small frying pan over a medium high heat and add the seeds.  Toast for 2 minutes until they start to smell fragrant.  Transfer to a chopping board and chop roughly or crush lightly in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Trim the fennel bulb by cutting off the base and the top stalks.  Peel off the outer layer of flesh (unless it’s a very fresh and tender bulb).  Using a mandolin slicer, slice the bulb into very thin rounds.  If you don’t have a mandolin, slice as thinly as you can using a knife.
  3. Cut the base and top off each of the oranges.  Using a sharp knife cut off the skin, going from top to bottom and following the curve of the fruit as best you can.  Over a bowl to catch the juice, cut the  orange into its segments and then halve each of the segments so you end up with thinnish slices.
  4. Arrange the fennel and orange on a large platter.  Sprinkle over the fennel seeds, herbs and crumble the feta cheese on top.
  5. Finally, dress the salad.  In a bowl, mix together the lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil and a little salt then pour over the salad.
In advance:

The salad can be made up to step 4 the morning before you want to eat it.  Only dress the salad when you’re ready to eat though.

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