I love the taste of fennel raw and sliced thin in a salad. It has a beautiful crunchy texture and a slight liquorice flavour. I don't even like the taste of liquorice but, I still love to eat fennel. This salad has the addition of a supremed orange and the fresh pop of pomegranate seeds.
Ever since I gave Big Pete pomegranate seeds in a shot of vodka he loves them. Now he wants pomegranate juice in his water and will eat them if I put them in a salad. You really can teach an old dog new tricks! The lesson is keep feeding them different food even if they say they don't like it. Just try serving it to them in new ways.
You will Need:
- 2 small fennel bulbs (or 1 larger one - I just think the small ones are more tender) they are sometimes called anise in the grocery store or they are also called finocchio in an Italian marke
- 1 small shallot - chopped finely
- 1 tsp orange zest and all orange slices
- 1 pomegranate (you will need approximately 1/2 cup seeds)
- 4-5 tbsp good olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
Step 1: remove the fennel leaves and upper stalks. I keep a tbsp of the best looking fennel fronds to add to the salad. Slice the bulb in half and remove the tough core.
Step 2: slice the fennel on a mandolin in thin strips ( in any direction you prefer the shavings) I like the look of the slices when you cut them vertically but, it is easier to hold them and slice them horizontally with the fat bottom in your palm. Be careful with the sharp mandolin and if you have any pieces left rather than slice off a finger do not try to grate each piece right up to the end.
Step 3: finely chop a shallot for a nice mild onion flavour.
Step 4: to supreme an orange slice down the peel to reveal the fruit without the bitter pith (white part) then carefully hold the orange in your palm and slice on either side of each membrane to remove just the fruit and no membrane. Once you have removed all slices then squeeze the remaining juice directly over the salad.
Step 5: cut open a pomegranate and then cut into quarters. Remove all the seeds into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup seeds to salad. Eat the remainder or place in a covered container and store in fridge.
Step 6: in a small jar add salad dressing ingredients: olive oil, white wine vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Shake and pour over salad. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. You can also squeeze a handful of pomegranate seeds to get some additional juice to the salad.