Shaved fennel with orange slices and black olives is far and away my favorite winter salad. It’s a very non-recipe recipe that I’m about to share, but it’s a combination that I adore, so I must sing its praises to you. The flavors play so well off one another: the crunch of raw fennel is highlighted with sweet juicy citrus and cut with briny black olives. It’s a salad that makes such a refreshing counter to heavy winter braises and roasts that I find myself making/craving this salad all the time.
Side note–have you ever noticed how I’m constantly adding orange zest and strips of orange peel to dishes without ever touching the actual fruit? Yeah, I can pretty much count on having 3 naked oranges in my refrigerator at any given time. This salad is an excellent way to make use of the interior of the orange.
Alright, you’re just minutes away from an utterly refreshing salad. Grab a bulb of fennel, an orange, and some olives and let’s go to town.
I run a vegetable peeler over the outside of the fennel to remove anything tough, stringy, and otherwise undesirable. Trim the bottom, cut off the stalks, quarter, and cut out the core.
Shave the fennel as thin as you can using your amazing knife skills or take the easy route (as I do) and use a mandoline. I shave the bottom inch or so of the stalk also to add extra variety in textures.
Arrange the fennel on a serving platter and hit it with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cut the peel and pith off your orange and cut it into slices.
Place the orange slices over the fennel and scatter a handful of oil-cured black olives over the top. Finish with wisps of fennel fronds and there you go: my favorite winter salad. I love serving this salad to contrast heavy winter fare. The one you see here accompanied my stout braised beef roast a few weeks ago and I’m looking forward to serving it again in a couple of days, alongside Lasagna Bolognese for Christmas Eve.
- 1 large bulb Fennel
- 2 medium Oranges
- 15 Oil-Cured Black Olives
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt, Black Pepper
- Cut the stalks off of the fennel bulb and reserve. Trim the base of the bulb and run a vegetable peeler over the outside to remove any tough strings. Cut the fennel in quarters and remove the core. Shave the fennel as thinly as possible, using a mandoline or very sharp knife. You can shave the bottom inch or so of the stalks to add to the salad, as well. Arrange the shaved fennel in a single layer on a serving platter. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Cut the peel and all of the white pith off of the oranges. Cut the orange, crosswise, in thin slices. Place the orange slices over the fennel.
- Using the side of a chef's knife, smash each olive and remove the pit. I normally just tear each olive in half, otherwise give them a rough chop. Scatter the olives over the oranges.
- Top the salad with a few of the feathery fennel greens. You can serve the salad immediatly or refrigerate for a few hours, prior to serving.