Fennel, Radicchio & Orange Salad
What is this madness?!! A salad, on a cold and dreary evening like this?!?! What on earth is going on?!!
Ahem. It is not a matter of "what is going on" to be accurate... More of a case of "what WENT on" in the afternoon... Which was a big slice of ridiculously decadent chocolate cake with a chocolate coating... Need I say more?
So, yes... This evening I did just make a salad. But I made sure it was a delicious and gorgeous one at the same time!
Although it is not quite the season yet here in Europe, the oranges are slowly getting better... And nothing goes better with fennel in a salad than orange, right?
So I had orange and fennel already... 2 sweet ingredients that needed a little contrast, which was why I decided to add some depth of flavor by combining them with bitter radicchio. Simple. Perfect. Just sayin'.
Here they are, 3 simple ingredients that go to make one super salad! The only thing you will need to add is some salt, pepper and olive oil... But the one thing that IS important, is to make sure you find some fennel that has not had all of its greens removed... I hate when they do that!!!
This is such a juicy and delicious salad and it is the combination of bitter, sweet, soft and crunchy that makes it so fantastic... I think that even those people that don't usually like the bitter flavor of radicchio may like this!
The important thing to do is to slice up the fennel very finely.
Also, using a nice, sharp knife, cut the filets from your orange but make sure to keep the left-over and to squeeze it out into a bowl... You are going to use that juice to make your dressing!
Both the fennel and the radicchio need to be finely shredded... The consistency is so much nicer, so it is worth that extra bit of effort... And apart from that... I actually really enjoy chopping!
Next, season the fennel with salt and coarsely ground pepper- I had a blend of different peppers that I tried out this evening... But trust me- it wasn't such a big deal and you could tell much difference... So regular black pepper will work just fine!
Add olive oil, salt and again coarsely ground pepper to your orange juice and whisk this together... This mild and sweet dressing is all you need to tame the bitter radicchio.
Using your hands, mash the thinly sliced fennel down a little... This will break down the structure of course and make it more pleasant to eat, but will also allow it to soak up the flavor of the salt and pepper better.
Lay out the radicchio first and do not add any dressing, otherwise it will quickly soften and wilt. Arrange it decoratively on a serving dish and set the seasoned fennel out in top.
Add the orange segments and plenty of fennel greens and you will have a lovely looking salad to set out for your guests...band as soon as you are ready to serve, drizzle generously with the dressing. Leave this till the last minute, and you can set out your salad in advance without needing to worry.
And as pretty as it may be... Of course it only really becomes delicious when it all gets mixed together! But, hey, it still looks pretty fantastic after that too! Doesn't it?