Seriously, the wind sounds ominous today! The sky is dark despite the hour (10 am as I write this) and the snow is whipping around in a funnel here outside our balcony. It’s January. And it’s a real Winter day. And thank goodness we have citrus!
Funny how the coldest time of the year here in the northern hemisphere is also the season for citrus. Those bright, tropical, sunny colours and juicy fruit options that just seem to make the cold a touch more bearable. While we most likely love citrus any time of year, it seems that in the grey, colourless time of winter, clementines, grapefruit, and blood oranges are especially welcome. And then there’s the joy of Meyer lemons! I’ll be working with those little gems later in the week.
For today, it’s all about the citrus salad. Yes, nothing new here. Last year about this time, I posted a recipe for a braised fennel and blood orange salad which is a warm, velvety way to enjoy fennel- such a lovely contrast in texture and flavour to the brightness of the oranges. That salad has greens, toasted pecans and crumbled feta. A true meal, if you make enough. But today I made a fresh, cold salad. This is simple and beyond yummy!
The blood oranges, the Cara Cara oranges, the Minneolas, even good old navel oranges, with slices of fennel is such a wonderful combination. The sweetness of the citrus just seems to make the slight liquorice flavour of the fennel pop. Both are totally in season. So it won’t be breaking the grocery budget to create this for one, or for a group. It makes a lovely breakfast or brunch dish, or even a great salad appetizer for a dinner party. Why, drizzle some honey and add some pistachios and this could turn into dessert for those who are avoiding carbs and too much processed sugar!
Seriously, this is barely a recipe. Use a knife to peel and then slice up the amount of citrus you want to use. Do the same with the kiwi. And then turn your attention to the fennel. Slice off the top, saving the fronds for part of the dressing and garnish. Cut it in half from top to bottom. And then, instead of slicing across, slice from top to bottom, creating thin slices that showcase the intricacy of how fennel grows on the inside.
Arrange all your components on a plate. Drizzle with really, really good Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The grassier the better. And a good cracking of premium pepper like Drom, and salt, like Maldon. I forgo any vinegar or lemon juice for this salad. I find that the citrus already releases enough juices that mix with the olive oil, to create the best dressing. Nothing more is needed. Seriously!
As mentioned above, if you did want to add dollops of ricotta or feta, that would be totally amazing as well.
Here’s a little bit of sunshine from me to you. On a sunless day. Stay warm and find sunshine wherever you can!
CITRUS AND FENNEL SALAD WITH KIWI
- 2 Cara Cara oranges
- 2 Blood Oranges
- 1/2 fennel bulb
- 2 kiwi
- Extra Virgin olive oil
- fresh cracked pepper
- finishing salt
Using a sharp knife, cut off either end of each piece of citrus. Then carefully cut off the peel cutting from pole to pole. Remove any remaining white pith. Slice into 1/8-1/4 inch slices. Repeat the same with each orange, and the kiwi as well.
Trim off the ends of the fennel bulb, reserving some of the fronds for the dressing/garnish.
Slice off the bottom. Then cut the bulb in half, from top to bottom.
Carefully slice thin pieces from the fennel, trying to keep the bottom intact, to hold the separate layers of the fennel attached at the one end.
Arrange the oranges, kiwi and fennel slices on a serving plate or platter.
Drizzle with a lovely amount of the best olive oil you can find.
Sprinkle the entire dish with freshly cracked pepper and finishing salt.
If you would like to make this a touch more substantial, try adding dollops of ricotta or feta throughout the dish.