Just in case you didn't catch it last year, I'm revisiting my favourite winter salad - a blend of thin slices of crisp fresh fennel, juicy oranges and dark oil-cured olives.
It's a great way to take advantage of the plethora of citrus fruits that's available this time of year.
This year, I was lucky enough to find some elusive Cara Cara oranges at the greengrocer. I'm a sucker for their pale coral colour and light acidity - it makes them a perfect match for a crisp-skinned pan-fried salmon filet, especially with a few whiskery bright green fennel fronds for contrast. Having delicious food is all well and good, but sometimes it's nice to eat delicious food that also happens to look pretty on the plate. :)
Not that I'm implying that this salad doesn't deliver loads of flavour... quite the opposite, in fact. It's a refreshing blend of juicy, crisp, fresh, tangy, sweet and salty in every bite.
I like to serve it with grilled chicken or fish when I'm feeling a little weighed-down from my usual winter stews and braises, and craving something a little lighter and fresher for a change.
If you're not lucky enough to snag some Cara Caras, just about any kind of orange you can get your hands on will do the trick, as would tangerines, mandarins or a cross-breed like tangelos. I also like to throw a mixture of different-coloured varieties like blood oranges or Cara Caras into the bowl for a pretty multi-hued version.
- 3 large navel or Cara Cara oranges
- 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced (reserve fronds for garnish)
- ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup oil-cured black olives
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Using a sharp knife, cut away all of the peel and white pith from the oranges. Carefully slice away each segment from the membranes.
- In a large bowl, combine the orange segments, fennel, red onion and olives. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper, then toss to coat evenly.
- To serve, divide the salad between four serving plates and garnish with reserved fennel fronds.