Fennel and blood orange salad

I have a confession to make. I am a subscriber of Gwyneth Paltrow’s oddly named GOOP e-newsletter. Now in my defence, it’s not because I love her acting or anything (she’s okay but not my favourite). I actually signed up for the entertainment factor because I’m easily amused by her Martha/Oprah wanna-be efforts.

So here’s another confession – on Saturday I made one of the newsletter’s recipes, based on a Mario Batali dish. And it was really good! This recipe lets me use two ingredients I’ve never cooked or baked with before – blood oranges and fennel.

I picked up a bag of blood oranges during my Costco trip from the previous weekend and immediately started searching my cookbooks and saved recipes for something good to make. A quick trip to the grocery store last night netted me some fresh fennel. This salad is crisp and clean tasting, and is a refreshing change from regular salads. It’s probably not the cheapest salad to make, although I guess you could substitute the blood oranges for regular navel oranges or maybe even mandarin oranges.

Fennel and blood orange salad

Fennel and blood orange salad

Fennel and blood orange salad
Adapted from a recipe by Gwyneth Paltrow, based on a dish by Mario Batali

2 fennel bulbs, shaved thinly with a mandoline (Original recipe also says you can use a vegetable peeler but that takes forever and I got fed up part way through. So I switched to my cheese grater and made it into a fennel coleslaw instead.)
1/4 cup fennel fronds (the wispy green bits that look like dill)
4 blood oranges, segmented with skin and pith discarded (Good tutorial on how to segment an orange can be found here. I also made sure to segment the juicy oranges over a bowl to catch any juice as the juice becomes part of the salad dressing.)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Toss all ingredients together and taste. Add more olive oil, salt and/or pepper if needed. Serve while the fennel is still crispy.

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