Fennel, Orange, Kalamata Olives Salad
It’s always fun to prepare a little something for others that they may not typically eat, and much to my delight I can hardly remember ever exposing people to new ingredients or cuisines that they didn’t end up really enjoying and were quite happy for the flavor experience.
While recently visiting family in St. Petersburg Beach Florida, I took note on the gorgeous bulbs of fennel displayed at the market within walking distance just down the street. Since I tend to get as excited about food ingredients as some women get about a new pair of shoes, my mind wandered on preparing one of those feathery topped vegetables.
Fortunately, my brother and sister and law were coming to dinner and I decided on the Fennel, Orange, Kalamata Olives Salad. With other complementary ingredients on hand, there was also an extra orange for halving and whisking up into a lovely Dijon Orange Vinaigrette.
Having been born in Italy, and with fennel being a popular vegetable in the regional cuisine, my sister in law, Marie, and her mother, have prepared many versions of Fennel over the years but she really loved this salad and it turned out as rather the hit of the evenings’ meal.
Upon later traveling to Las Vegas the following week I was eager to prepare the salad again for sharing with you. The fennel bulbs were not quite as plump as my original preparation, but equally as tasty. So, wherever you live and whatever size fresh bulbs may present at your market Fennel Salad may provide for a unique and delicious little meal starter for your own family and friends.
- For the Salad:
- 1 fennel bulb, top stems and fronds removed, some feathery stems reserved, remove bottom stem, halve bulb, then cut into thin half moon slices
- 1/2 red onion sliced into half moon sized pieces
- 2 oranges, outer skin removed, segments cut between the piths
- 12 kalamata olives, pitted
- 1/2 orange, zested, juice reserved for dressing
- For the Dijon Orange Vinaigrette:
- pinch sugar
- pinch of coarse kosher salt
- few grinds of cracked black pepper
- 1 scant teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- juice from half an orange
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- For the Dressing:
- Into a small bowl sprinkle the sugar, salt, and pepper
- Add in the Dijon mustard, vinegar, and orange juice, whisk
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking constantly until lightly emulsified
- For the Salad:
- In a medium sized bowl toss together the fennel and onions
- Gently fold through the kalamata olives and orange segments
- Lightly toss with the Dijon Orange Vinagrette
- Garnish with orange rind and small pieces of fennel frond