Roasted fennel brought me out of my winter-vegetable blues, but this simple, refreshing salad of slivered raw fennel, juicy oranges and creamy avocado is giving me a vision of spring. I’ve shoved over my tired late-winter lettuces in favor of this plate of freshness. This is one cold-weather dish I just might miss even in the height of summer: fine slivers of crunch balanced with buttery avocado; salty aged parmesan balanced with sweet luscious orange.
And I promise this is the end of my fennel kick, at least for this year.
Start with a fresh bulb of fennel. Cut off stalks and trim the bottom of the bulb.
Halve the bulb. Cut out the triangle wedge of core at the base of each half.
Shave off slices as thin as you can. You can use a mandoline if you have one.
Add fennel to bowl and season well with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Use a generous hand, as the fennel will share its seasonings with the orange and avocado. Toss well to coat.
I only learned how to slice oranges for salad last year. In case I’m not the only one, here’s a mini tutorial (very mini since I’m using clementines). Take a slice of peel off the top and bottom of the orange.
Cut off curved strips to peel the orange all around.
Cut the orange in half and slice each half into thin half-moons.
Add oranges to fennel, where the orange juice’s acidity will complement the olive oil. Toss gently.
Use this guide to slice the avocado if you don’t know how (one addition to that guide: a gentle twist is the best way to separate the two halves).
Here I tried a new method to slice the unpeeled half and then use my fingers to remove the peel from each slice. It worked well.
Even with gentle mixing, tossing the avocado in the salad ends up a bit messy, like this.
If you like a tidier look, place a few avocado slices on each plate and then add the fennel-orange mixture. Top with a generous helping of Parmesan shavings, which adds a nice mature touch to balance all the fresh flavors.
Fennel, Orange and Avocado Salad
Everything in this salad is refreshing – crisp fennel, juicy citrus and creamy avocado. A few generous shavings of parmesan on top bring a mature touch to balance all that freshness. The only dressing is extra virgin olive oil, as the orange adds enough sweet acidity.
- 1 medium bulb fennel
- 1 large navel orange, or four clementine tangerines
- 1 ripe avocado
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- Parmesan cheese shavings
- Cut the stems off the fennel and trim the bottoms of the bulbs. Shave off any brown spots on the outside of the bulbs. Slice the bulbs in half lengthwise. Use two diagonal cuts to slice out the triangular wedge of core at the base of each half.
- With the cut side down, slice each half horizontally, shaving off slices as thin as you can manage (you can also use a mandoline if you have one).
- Place the shaved fennel in a large bowl. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil and a healthy sprinkling of salt and pepper – season the fennel generously, as it will share its seasonings with the orange and avocado. Toss well to coat.
- Cut oranges: Take a slice off the top and bottom of the orange or tangerine. With the orange standing up on its flat end, cut off the peel in curved strips, working your way around the orange.
- Halve the orange or tangerine vertically. Placing each half cut side down, cut into thin slices (I find a serrated knife is easiest to avoid squeezing out all the juice). Add the oranges to the fennel and toss gently.
- Cut avocado into slices. Check out this guide if you don’t know how (one addition to that guide: a gentle twist is the best way to separate the two halves).
- You can toss the avocado with the salad, but it does look a bit messy. If you like to keep things neat, you can plate the salad, placing a few avocado slices on a plate and topping with a heap of the fennel-orange mix.
- Top the salad with generous shavings of Parmesan cheese.
Makes four modest or two hearty servings.
Here’s the link to a printable version.
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