Olive, Orange and Fennel Winter Salad

Several weeks ago, my two close friends and I decided to get together for a ladies’ only lunch. Rather than go out, we opted to stay in so that we could have my friend’s 10 month old son join us and we could be as loud as we wanted. Not interrupting strangers’ meals with guffaws of laughter is how a civilized society comports themselves.  You’re welcome.

After a brief menu discussion, I volunteered to bring Roasted Chicken and Salad for a light winter afternoon lunch (which leaves room for wine). The ladies agreed.

I made my usual Perfect Roast Chicken….
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…and Olive, Orange, Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette. Boom.
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I LOVE this salad. It’s a perfect winter salad, as citrus is widely available, while the fennel and olives add astringency and richness. Plus I love fennel (ahem, last recipe). Drizzled in homemade dressing with warm roasted chicken on top, it is easily a perfect meal that feels comforting but yet light at the same time. Just make it, please?

Olive, Orange, Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette 
2 heads Bibb lettuce
1 c. pitted castelvetrano olives
2 navel oranges
1 fennel bulb (about 1 c. slices)

Orange Vinaigrette 
4 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed into a paste
juice from one orange + 1 tsp orange zest
splash of water
1 tbs fennel fronds, minced
sea salt, black pepper

Wash and dry lettuce completely. Remove large outer leaves of both the lettuce heads and line a salad platter. Chop remaining lettuce and add to salad. Slice olives in half and add to salad. Wash fennel and remove stalks and fronds (reserving fronds). Remove tough outer layer, tough center and discard. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice fennel into almost paper-thin slices, add to salad. Using the same knife, carefully slice the peel away from each orange. Turn peeled orange on it’s side and slice orange vertically into segments. Slice each circle segment into a half-moon. Add to salad.  Line outside edges of salad plate with fennel fronds if you wish for decoration. Serves 4.

In a small jar, add garlic paste, juice, zest, water and oil and shake until emulsified. Add fennel fronds and then sea salt and black pepper to taste. Serve over salad. Serves 4.
IMG_8762.JPGPlate each dish with salad, dressing, chicken, more dressing and onions from roasting pan IMG_8770.JPG
Side dish of gossip, optional.

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