Spring Recipe: Fennel, orange salad with olives

Oh, how I love when spring finally rounds the corner! The sun is bright and high in the evening sky, flower shops are full of rainbow-hued tulips and our moods shift with the season: we just generally feel lighter and happier in our step.

I love spring for a lot of reasons (I can finally start thinking about my gardens!) but most of all it’s the seasonal recipes I love to pull out of my pantry and make again after a cold, damp winter.

Pealed orange next to other oranges

My fennel and orange salad with walnuts and olives is a standby in my home: It’s zingy, fresh, with great texture and taste. It’s a classic Sicilian dish that’s a pleasant departure from a usual green salad.

I’ll often serve it with grilled fish, chicken — even Italian sausages on the BBQ. On a beautiful sunny day in the spring or summer, out on the patio or by the water, this is a dish everyone will love.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large fennel, cleaned and washed
  • 3 large (and juicy!) oranges
  • 1 large radicchio (also called Italian chicory), cleaned and washed
  • 100 grams (3-3.5 oz.) of Taggiashe Olives (my favourite!), de-stoned and preserved in olive oil.
  • Generous handful of walnuts

Dressing:

  • 2-3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon’s fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)
Fennel, orange and olive salad

Directions:

  • Thinly slice the fennel into discs, or use a mandolin if you feel confident.
  • Put the slices immediately into a bowl of ice water – this helps the fennel keep it’s colour, while also staying crisp.
  • Finely slice the radicchio and keep it covered in the fridge until ready for use.
  • Peel the oranges, remove the pith (this has a very bitter taste) and do this over a bowl so you can reserve the juices.
  • Roast the walnuts in the oven on a tray until golden brown (this can take 5-10 minutes depending on your oven). Keep an eye out! They can burn easily. Chop coarsely, set aside.
  • Drain the fennel and pat dry with paper towels, then mix the fennel, radicchio, oranges, olives and walnuts together in a bowl.

Dressing:

  • Mix your lemon juice, orange juice, Dijon mustard, Red Wine vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil together until emulsified.
  • Add salt, fresh ground pepper and pour over the salad.

Enjoy!

sliced fennel
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