Orange Fennel Salad with Honey and Lemon

Orange and Fennel Salad - Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Orange Fennel Salad with Honey and Lemon
When the winter citrus fruits come into season I look forward to making a juicy fragrant orange and fennel salad. Selecting the best oranges is the key to having a delicious salad. When you’re at the market pick up a couple oranges to get a feel for their weight; select the ones that feel heavy for their size. Those oranges will be the juiciest and sweetest.

The salad is drizzled with a honey lemon vinaigrette and topped with thin slices of crunchy fennel and spiked with olives and mint. I like to add a salty creamy element by shaving some ricotta salata over the top.

Serves 6

5 citrus fruits (orange, blood orange, tangerine, or sweet lime), rinds removed cut off and cut into sections
1/4 red onion, sliced very thin
1/2 medium fennel bulbs sliced thin, plus 2 tablespoons of the fennel fronds
1/2 cup black olives (Kalamata or Niçoise)
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1/4 cup ricotta salata or feta cheese crumbled (optional)

Juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon shallot, minced
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Make the dressing. Whisk together lemon juice, shallot, and vinegar with a 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let sit for a few minutes add the olive oil and honey and taste for salt and pepper. Adjust to your taste. This can be done the day ahead.

2. Using a knife with a long thin blade slice the top and the bottom from the orange and discard. Being careful to not remove the flesh start at the top sawing back and forth following the contour of the orange cutting the rind away, continue removing the rind until it is all cut away. Turn the orange over and remove any missed pieces of the rind. Slice oranges 1/3 inch thick and discard any seeds. Place the onion in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes, which will tame the taste and make it sweeter. Toss the onion and fennel with a tablespoon of dressing. Arrange the orange slices on a large platter then top with the onion, fennel, pitted olives, and optional cheese over the oranges. Sprinkle the mint over the top and pass the rest of the vinaigrette at the table.

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Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie