I found this salad recipe on Emily Nunn’s most delicious substack, The Department of Salad. Special thanks to her for allowing me to repost and share with you.
Fennel is a fantastically versatile vegetable that is often overlooked unless one has the fortune to have it appear a CSA box. This root veg is high in fiber, low in starch and rich in Vitamin K, with an appreciable nod in acknowledgment of its vitamin C, polyphenol and carotenoid content. Fennel is a great way to break out of a vegetable rut in the winter time and find a new veggie to love! Aside from enjoying it’s crunch in winter salads, I love the mild sweetness it offers when roasted or included in a soup. This salad recipe is a fantastic gateway to using fennel that will surely make you a fan, and also get you to bust out that mandoline your sister-in-law gave you that was shoved in the back of the cupboard three years ago.
Fennel and Orange Salad, with Shaved Jalapeños
While jalapeños may be intimidating, please don’t skip their inclusion in this recipe. Shaved thinly, they are tolerable to nearly everyone. If you are extra wary, remove the white pith and seeds before including them in the salad. The flesh of a raw jalapeño has a mild vegetal flavor that is really delightful and worth experiencing!
•1 large or two small heads fennel, trimmed and very thinly sliced (or shaved on a mandoline)
•Juice (about 3 tablespoons) and zest of 1 lemon
•6-8 oranges (navel, Cara Cara, blood; or a mix), depending on their size, peeled and sliced crosswise into thin rounds (I tossed in a small grapefruit for variety)
•1 jalapeño, seeded, shaved into thin slices crosswise use your mandoline
•8 to 10 large mint leaves, stacked and thinly sliced crosswise (chiffonade); basil would also be good here if you cannot find mint
•2 to 3 tablespoons of your best olive oil
•Flaky sea salt (ex: Maldon)
•3-5 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar, to finish
Toss the fennel gently with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice and about half of the zest, more to taste. Arrange it in a loose jumble on a platter and top with the cold citrus slices. Scatter the shaved jalapeños and mint on top, then drizzle all over with the olive oil, douse with balsamic vinegar, and give it a nice splash of flaky sea salt. You may also sprinkle on some of the remaining lemon zest. Enjoy!