Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Worthy Salad

I've been thinking on salad for Thanksgiving. As a family, we tend to enjoy salads- the kids especially. But when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I confess that I don't remember that many meals where there was a salad on the table. My thought is that when there is salad on the table everyone feel obligated to eat a little rabbit food. At Thanksgiving time, that valuable tummy space could be better serviced by an extra helping of stuffing or marshmallow-laden sweet potatoes. Lately I've been plagued though by the thought of adding a salad to my feast. It just sounds like a good idea. Once again, Everyday Food has come to my rescue.

Fennel and Orange Salad is exactly what the turkey ordered. With a meal loaded with flavor and richness, there could be nothing better to cut into that decadence and provide a palate cleanser. I decided I needed to try this salad ahead of time- could it be so good with so few ingredients? I was skeptical, but I really wanted it to work out. One of the things that drew me to this particular recipe was how the orange was prepared. Usually in salads, you see the peel cut away, and then you use a knife to cut into each individual segment, and I usually end up with a mess. Not this salad. The recommended treatment is to cut off the peels and pith and then cut the whole orange in half while standing on end. Then you simply slice each half into slices. The fennel is just as easy to work with. I cut the bulb in half, removed the core, and then cut thin slices until I got to the top of the bulb. The two were combined in a super simple vinaigrette, and the whole salad was delightful. It really was delicious and needs nothing else to make it shine. It will be a perfect addition to my Thanksgiving feast, and can be made several hours ahead of time. Fennel and Orange Salad
from Everyday Food, November 2006

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper (I used grey salt)
5 navel oranges
3 to 4 fennel bulbs (about 2 pounds total) ends trimmed and cored, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise, plus 1/4 cup roughly chopped fennel fronds

1. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil; season with salt and pepper.

2, Using a sharp knife, slice off both ends of each orange. Following the curve of the fruit, cut away the peel and the pith. Halve orange from top to bottom; thinly slice crosswise. Transfer oranges, along with any juices that have accumulated on the work surface, to bowl with dressing. Add fennel and, if desired, fronds. Toss to combine.

Serves 8.

3 comments:

Claire said...

I've never had fennel but hear that it tastes a little like licorice. Is this true?

Alanna said...

Bookmark! Love the orange treatment too, I rarely get to them since it all seems so fussy.

Erika said...

Claire, I love fennel. A correct "taste" would be licorice, but I really don't like licorice or anise. I avoid black candies at all cost. The fennel though... you really just have to try it to decide whether or not you like it. When the fennel here is good I add it to everything- soups, stews, roasted veggies. Mmmm.

Alanna I thought of you when I tried this. So simple, yet so good. And this was a "duh" moment for me on the oranges. I don't know why I never thought to just slice them for salad. Silly me.