Orange Fennel Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Orange and fennel is a classic combination that creates a wonderful flavor profile. Because these two flavors are so distinct, it is best to let them have center stage when they come together. There is no need to complicated things when you are working with these two ingredients. In fact, you may find that adding a green leafy lettuce to this dish is unnecessary.
Whenever possible, mix together the vinaigrette ingredients in advance. Giving this combination a chance to meld makes a big difference.
3 blood oranges (or regular navel oranges), cut into thin slices with rind removed
1 bulb fennel, washed, dried and thinly sliced, bottom and green leaves removed and discarded
1 head Romaine or other leafy green lettuce
Citrus Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1 t. fresh orange zest
2 T. fresh orange juice
1 t. fresh lemon zest
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t fresh lime juice
1 T. fresh lime juice
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup really good extra virgin olive oil
1 T. honey
2 t. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper, to taste
Whenever adding citrus zest to a recipe, it is best to start with organic ingredients. Also be sure to wash the fruit thoroughly and pat dry. Zest each piece of fruit with a microplane and add the specified amount to the bowl.
While you are at it, continue zesting the entire fruit and freeze the excess amount in a plastic bag for future use. Another option is to collect the remaining juice from each piece of fruit and store in ice cube containers along with the leftover zest.
Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a glass bowl and whisk together thoroughly to combine. The Dijon mustard will ask as an emulsifier to bind the oil and acidic components together.
Arrange the Romaine or other lettuce leaves on each plate and top with alternating slices of fennel and orange. Drizzle entire plate with citrus vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.