Thursday, March 15, 2012
the freshest salad: shaved fennel, red onion & blood orange
My sis was just in town and this was the inspiration of the day as I prepared a light Sunday lunch: shaved fennel, red onion & blood orange. I have been obsessing over blood oranges lately and fennel has been my new love over the last year. With the urge to cleanse and eat light, fennel is the perfect ingredient for a slaw or salad and the blood oranges are the most special of citrus fruit in my book. Grapefruit can easily be substituted, but then where would all the color go?
The secret to this treat is the mandoline. If you have never used one, it is pure magic. It truly is the difference between mediocrity and excellence when it comes to presentation and texture vs. simple slicing with a knife.
Once you pass the fennel bulb through the mandoline with the thinnest setting, do the same with red onion. You get these ribbon-like shavings that are not only gorgeous to the naked eye but create a unique experience in flavor as texture plays a huge role in the way you taste food. Before segmenting the orange, zest it with a grater or if you want to be extra fancy, my favorite is the microplane. Tear some of the fennel fronds off to add to the salad. Season with lavender, green cardamom and drizzle with dressing composed of blood orange juice, sherry vinegar, olive oil, fresh cracked himalayan sea salt and pepper. Once tossed, it turns absolutely divine translucent pink.