This shaved fennel and orange salad gets mixed with some walnuts and drizzled with an ouzo-spiked dressing. Make it with any citrus you like!
This shaved fennel and orange salad is the last dish of the holiday dinner menu I’ve been posting on the blog these days. So, in case you haven’t read my previous posts, the menu consists of some fluffy bread rolls with pumpkin and olive oil, this salad, some beet and feta mini tarts as an appetizer, this prosciutto-wrapped turkey roulade with chestnut and plum stuffing as the main course and a chocolate and hazelnut mousse cake for dessert. Having that said, if you search this blog’s categories you’ll find many more appetizers, mains, salads, and desserts 🙂
Needless to say that you can make this salad with other types of citrus, too. In my opinion, orange pairs ideally with fennel but I have also tried this recipe with pink grapefruit. Pink grapefruit is less bitter than the common grapefruit with a nice reddish color and a very refreshing taste. If you’re not the citrus type, I’d recommend this arugula, green apple, and goat cheese salad, which can also stand proudly on a festive table!
One thing I didn’t know is that there are male and female fennel bulbs (who would have thought!). The main difference between them is their shape, with the ones being more round and the others more elongated. Now, because I didn’t remember which is which, I googled it only to find conflicting answers, so I don’t really know if the round ones are males or females and the elongated ones the opposite sex. The thing I do know, however, is that the round ones have a stronger taste and tougher texture while the more elongated are more delicate in taste and more tender in texture. So, if you happen to find both sexes choose according to your preference!
- How to cut fennel: First, cut off the stems/green parts and then cut the bulb in half, lengthwise. Then, using a sharp knife or a mandolin, slice the fennel into fine slices.
- Except for orange you can use any citrus fruit you like.
- Fennel and ouzo complement each other making this salad really unique!
- If you don’t have ouzo you can omit it or substitute with sambuca (or 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1/4 teaspoon ground star anise).On the other hand, if you have a full bottle of ouzo and don’t know what to do with it (other than drinking it!) check this roast pepper and ouzo shrimp spaghetti.
- Make your own “balsamic” vinegar by mixing equal parts of wine vinegar and grape syrup (or even honey). It’s not the real thing, but it’s close enough 🙂
- For the salad:
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 2 oranges, peeled
- 1 cup arugula, chopped
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano flakes (omit this if you’re vegan)
- For the dressing:
- 5 tablespoons e.v. olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons ouzo (start with 1 tablespoon)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a shaker or blender and shake/blend until homogenized. Taste and add more ouzo if you like.
- Rinse and clean fennel bulbs, cut in half (lengthwise) and slice them finely. You can also use a mandolin for this.
- Cut the oranges into chunks.
- Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl, pour over the dressing and mix well.