Even though it’s cold and miserable outside, I feel like if I eat something that reminds me of Summer then I can pretend those grey oppressive skies are full of light and warmth – even if it only lasts a few glorious minutes.
Despite oranges and fennel being readily available in Winter, they still remind me of much brighter days – perhaps it’s their vibrant flavour or that pop of bright orange among luscious greens, I’m not too sure – but I like it.
When that sweet, juicy orange is teamed up with the subtle anise flavour of the fennel bulb and a touch of peppery rocket, I am reminded that classic flavour combinations are often the best – tried and tested, they prove themselves time and time again. You honestly can’t go wrong with this popular combo.
I also love that this salad isn’t busy – it’s a handful of fresh, seasonal ingredients and not a lot more. And really, it doesn’t need any more. So it’s cheap, healthy, fresh and delicious…pretty much perfection on a plate.
Another great little benefit is it requires minimal assembly – so no matter how you throw into on your serving plate, it’s bound to look good – ‘rustic charm’ you might say. That effortless plate of goodness that always looks presentable no matter your ability, or lack thereof, in the kitchen. Even if it’s a bit all over the shop and your orange segments turn out a little uneven or your fennel slicing went from Michelin-star to something a lot less consistent and formal – it will still look great.
Serves 4 – 6
For the dressing:
2 oranges, zested
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs canola oil
2 tsp seeded mustard
1 shallot, finely diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the salad:
1 large fennel bulb, cut in half and finely sliced
3 oranges, segmented
4 cups fresh rocket
- Cut off the stems and feathery fronds of the fennel bulb and remove any bruised or discoloured outer layers. Reserve any of the delicate fennel leaves for the salad. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and finely slice the white of the bulb.
- Working with 1 orange at a time, cut a slice off both ends of the orange to reveal the flesh. Stand the orange upright on a cutting board and thickly slice off the peel and pith in strips, following the contour of the fruit. Hold the orange in your palm and cut on the inside of each segment (in between the thin layer of skin that separates each segment). Repeat with the remaining oranges.
- Place the orange, fennel and rocket in a large serving bowl.
- When ready to serve, drizzle over the dressing and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.