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.
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.
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.