This recipe, from one of my most favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, is an especially good variation on the theme. So colorful! Such lively flavors! This is a dinner party presentation dish, less ideal (though not impossible) for a quick weeknight meal. It’s easy but requires some potschke-ing. Totally worth it!
Recipe source: Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Kurt Gutenbrunner via NY Times
- ¼ cup hazelnuts or walnuts
- 1 medium-large fennel bulb, leaves and stems trimmed off
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon (maybe a little less)
- 2 large blood oranges
- 1 small shallot, peeled and cut into paper-thin slices
- 10 mint leaves
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
Cook’s Note: If serving family style or as a featured salad, place the fennel and oranges on a bed of lightly dressed mixed greens, incorporating them into the dish ever so slightly. You can also serve it as a side dish using fewer greens (or none at all).
- Place nuts in dry skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, to toast. Let cool. If using hazelnuts, roll them around in a dishcloth (or, when cool enough, in your hands) discarding any loose skins. Coarsely chop nuts, set aside.
- Slice about ½ inch from bottom of fennel and discard (or save for vegetable stock). Slice fennel very thinly on a mandoline or with a knife, starting with the flat bottom side. Toss in bowl with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
- Trim all peel and pith from oranges. Holding peeled fruit over bowl containing fennel, use sharp knife to cut sections from membrane and let them drop into bowl. Squeeze remaining membrane over bowl to add juices, then discard membrane.
- Add shallots to bowl with fennel and oranges. Toss gently.
- If serving immediately, continue with assembly instructions. Otherwise, cover bowl and keep chilled until ready to assemble salad and serve. Can make ahead 2-3 hours.
- Make a bed of salad greens, if desired. Drizzle ½-1 tablespoon olive oil over greens, toss, and sprinkle just a pinch of kosher salt on the greens.
- Pile fennel, blood orange, and shallot mixture on top of the greens, straining out some (but not all) of the fruit juices that gathered in the bowl.
- Drizzle ½-1 tablespoon olive oil over the fennel mixture. Tear the mint leaves and sprinkle over the salad. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the salad. Add fresh lime zest on top. Serve immediately.
Note: The salad holds up well for leftovers the next day, although it is freshest and most delicious on Day One.