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Seasonal food blog of Chef Deborah at Cuvée at The Greenporter Hotel

Shaved Fennel and Blood Orange Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

December 27th, 2011 · No Comments · Cuvee at The Greenporter Hotel, Dietary Restrictions, Dinner, Italian, Low-Calorie, Lunch, Vegan, Vegetarian

For a simple, yet memorable first course start with this fennel salad.  With only a few ingredients it takes mintues to prepare and compliments the salty cheeses of your apertivo with anise and tangy oranges.

Fennel is one of those vegetables we overlook and it’s very available during the winter.  It has a fresh flavor with a hint of Anise, which goes beautifully with citrus.  You can use blood oranges, which should be available during this time of year, or just substitute with navel oranges or red grapefruit.

fennel and orange salad

It’s easier if you have a mandolin.  (By the way, mandolins make great gifts and a standard plastic one is not too expensive.)  Start by cutting the bulb lengthwise, since it will be easier to manage with the back and forth movement. This will allow you to shave the fennel into the thinnest slices.  If you don’t have a Mandolin, just try to slice as thinly as possible.  As a first course, one bulb is enough for at least five people.  So if it’s just two of you, only use one half of it and save the other half for my tomato-fennel soup and grilled cheese.

Section the oranges. (If you are pressed for time, buy them already sectioned in a can.)

Champagne Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Whisk together the shallots, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified.  Alternatively, you can combine all the ingredients in a blender or a food processor and puré until smooth.

Optional:  If you want to add seafood to this, shrimp is great on this.  Just boil like shrimp cocktail and place on top.

Serving: You can plate your salad ahead of time and set at each table setting.  While you and your guests enjoy your apertivo, the dressing will slightly “cook” the fennel so it is not too crunchy.  When you move your event to the table, it will be perfectly ready to enjoy. 

Pair this tangy-Italian salad with a glass of Pindar‘s 2009 Sunflower Chardonnay.  With hints of vanilla and caramel followed by apple and pear, this Chardonnay’s flavors will perfectly compliment your first course.

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