There are a lot of good reasons to use fennel root as the base to salad – it’s great to bring to a party because you can bring it dressed and not worry about it getting wilty, you can actually save it for leftovers the next day (I hate wasting food, which can be a problem since I love making huge portions of everything…you can’t run out!), it’s a fresh, crisp, unique and delicious vegetable that gives another dimension of flavor to a recipe.
FENNEL + CITRUS SALAD
Serves 6 – 8
Use fresh organic fennel root, young and firm roots are the tastiest. I use grapefruit in this recipe but feel free to use blood orange which is very tasty and exotic or Valencia orange for a sweeter salad.
4 – 6 fennel bulbs, the larger the bulb the less you’ll need
3 ripe ruby red grapefruits
1/2 cup chopped oil cured black olives
1 juice of one lemon
1 tblsp. organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of Kosher sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
I use a large shallow bowl to display this salad in an appealing way that also allows a nice fennel/citrus/avocado portion to be served on the plate. Prep your ingredients by thoroughly washing the fennel bulbs, cutting off the fronds at the edge of the bulb, and trimming the base. Trim or remove any brown outer layers. You can use a knife to cut the bulb but I highly, highly recommend a mandolin slicer for this recipe, if you don’t have one see if you can borrow one from a culinary oriented neighbor. The thinner you can get your slices of fennel the better, start by sliding the side where the fronds were across your mandolin and work your way down. Put your fennel in the bowl. Prep your grapefruits by slicing in have long wise, remove peel and section with a pairing knife. If you are in a rush, just slice off the peel and core the fruit, removing as much pith as possible and cutting the fruit into sections. Set these aside and prep your oil cured black olives – chances are you weren’t able to find these without pits… sometimes they are pitted in an olive bar but most of the time they have pits and are in a jar. Halve the olives and remove the pits until you have your half cup of olives. Mix the fennel with the olive oil and lemon juice, put a pinch of salt and toss, create a layer of fennel at the bottom of your bowl. Add a layer of your grapefruit sections then sprinkle the olives on top. Cut your avocado lengthwise, remove the pit by cracking the knife in the center (you know this trick right? Leave in comments if you need me to send you a step by step video), slice out your pieces and lay them artistically over the salad. Sprinkle the rest of the salt and pepper it up. Cover with plastic wrap, bring your favor retro salad tossers with you and show up at the party with some fresh eats, looking hot to trot.
You can easily cut this recipe to serve less people and/or turn it into a chopped salad. I love to bring leftovers to work the next day.