March so far has turned out to be quite the glutinous month. With lots of dinners, lots of work lunches and parties, I've noticed lately that my body has started to reject rich foods and crave greens. So, Saturday night, after an, ahem, eventful, dinner at Cinquecento, a new restaurant in the South End, I put to use some leftovers and set my sights on a simple restorative salad. It couldn't be simpler, and despite my aversion to fennel (as documented in my previous post), I found that a light "pickling" of the fennel in the acidic dressing allows it to mellow out a bit, but still preserve its crunch.
You will need (for the dressing):
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 generous pinch of salt
- pepper, to taste
For the salad:
- 1/2 orange (blood orange would be nice, too)
- generous handful salad greens, rinsed and dried. I used mixed baby greens, but feel free to use arugula too
- 1/2 bulb fennel, sliced thinly on a mandolin
First, whisk together your dressing. Taste it to make sure it is properly seasoned. It should be acidic tasting, but not make your lips pucker too much. If that is the case, add a tiny bit more olive oil. It should taste salty.
Next, add your thinly sliced fennel to the dressing. I shaved the fennel on a mandolin as thinly as possible - the pieces should be almost translucent but still hold its shape. Toss those and let them sit in the dressing while you prepare the orange.
Using a very sharp paring knife, cut off the rind and pith of the orange. Then (carefully!), cut into each segment. I would recommend doing this over the bowl of dressing so those juices are captured. The sweetness will round out the orange flavor throughout the salad. Set the segments aside.
Toss the salad greens with the "pickled" fennel and dressing. Plate the salad and throw the segmented orange throughout. Enjoy!