Fennel and blood orange salad
I love this dish because it has the flavours of the Mediterranean, without being as predictable as something like the caprese (tomatoes, mozzarella and basil). Like the caprese (which I also love), the quality of this salad depends on top quality ingredients - the freshest of fennel, and the juiciest and most fragrant of blood oranges. I like to serve this savoury-sweet-salty salad with a glass of chilled prosecco, and as part of an antipasti selection, along with olives, thinly sliced salami, prosciutto with ripe melon, chunks of pecorino, grilled radicchio, grilled red and yellow peppers drenched in olive oil, and plenty of crusty bread.
Recipe 2-4 blood oranges (depending on size)
1 medium-sized fennel bulb, 300g-400g
20ml fresh lemon juice (preferably from an Italian lemon)
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
Large-flaked sea salt (preferably Maldon) and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the peel and pith from the blood oranges: cut off the tops and bottoms to expose the flesh. Lay the oranges with one of the flat sides down on the cutting board. Use a small serrated knife to trim off the peel from top to bottom, cutting far enough down to expose the flesh, and following the curved contour of the fruit. Slice the peeled oranges into 5mm thick rounds and lay the pieces on a plate. Trim off the fronds from the fennel bulb and set them aside to use as a garnish. Cut out and discard the core from the bulb, trim off any tough fibres and remove the stalks. Slice the bulb into pieces about 3mm thick and put them over the oranges. Whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil and drizzle over the ingredients. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then garnish with the reserved fennel fronds before serving.