Shaved Fennel Salad with Blood Oranges, Celery, and Olives
By Sandro Romano
2 medium-sized fennel
bulbs, preferably with fronds
4 celery stalks, peeled
5 blood oranges, with 3 tbsp of juice reserved
1 cup of pitted mixed olives, halved
2 tsp fennel seeds
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and white pepper to taste
½ cup celery leaves
½ cup fennel fronds or dill
Optional garnishes include:
Wash the fennel and peel off and discard any damaged outer layers. Cut into equal parts from the bottom root to the fronds and then shave into thin slices using a Japanese mandolin.
Cut the peeled celery stalks into 4-inch pieces and then shave lengthwise into thin slices with a mandolin, or cut on a thin bias with a chef’s knife.
Soak the sliced fennel and celery in an ice water bath for at least an hour in order to keep them crisp. Soaking them will also cause the slices to curl a bit, which lends nice volume to your salad.
Peel the oranges with a sharp medium-sized knife and trim away the skin and pith. Remove the orange segments from the membrane over a bowl to catch the juices, which you’ll reserve for the dressing. (Here’s a handy step-by-step tutorial on how to segment citrus fruit.)
After you’ve removed all the segments, squeeze the leftover membrane into the bowl to extract the juice before discarding the membrane. Cover and set aside both the juice and the orange segments.
Just before serving, drain the fennel and celery well. Let sit on a paper towel for 5 minutes to dry off since too much moisture will prevent the vinaigrette from clinging the vegetables.
Combine the fennel, celery, orange segments and olives with the fennel seeds, salt, white pepper, olive oil, vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of the reserved citrus juice. You can save any remaining citrus juice for cooking or cocktails. Toss well.
Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and vinegar as needed. Add the celery leaves and fennel fronds or dill, and any other garnishes, if using, into the salad. Serve immediately.