You heard as a child that eating your greens was important. But they didn’t mention that it could be this much fun.
Roasted and Raw
Fennel Salad with
Blood Orange and
Serves 4–6 as a side.
- 4 large fennel bulbs, stalks and
outermost layer discarded, tender
fronds reserved, root ends trimmed
of brown bits
- 2 medium garlic cloves, finely
- ½ tsp. fennel seeds, coarsely
crushed in a mortar
- 3 dried pequin chiles, crumbled, or
pinches of red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ tsp. Maldon or another flaky
- 4 blood oranges
- 1 Tb. lemon juice
- Several turns of freshly ground black
- A handful of delicate peppery arugula
- ¼ cup unsalted roasted pistachios,
very coarsely crushed
- 1 tsp. fennel pollen
- 1 oz. bottarga di muggine (salted
mullet roe), finely grated on a raspstyle
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F.
- Halve two of the fennel bulbs through the root end, then cut them through
the root nub (so each wedge stays intact) into approximately 1-inch-thick
wedges. Combine the wedges in a mixing bowl with the garlic, fennel seeds,
chiles, ¼ cup of the oil, ½ tsp. of the salt and ¼ cup of water, and toss well.
Spread the mixture in a heavy enameled baking dish (large enough to hold
the fennel in a single layer with a little room to spare) and cover tightly with
foil. Roast the fennel until it is tender (it should meet with almost no resistance
when poked with a knife) and golden brown on the bottom, 25 to 30
minutes. Remove the foil and roast just until the golden brown color gets a
shade or so darker, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let the fennel cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, halve one of the oranges and squeeze 3 Tbs. of juice into a
small bowl. Use a sharp knife to cut off just enough of the top and bottom
of the remaining oranges to expose a full circle of the flesh on either side.
Stand them on a flat end, and cut along the border where the flesh meets
the pith, following the curve of the fruit to remove the pith and peel. Repeat
the process until all you have left are nice round, naked fruits. If you’ve
missed any white pith, trim it off. Slice the fruit crosswise into ¼- to 3/8-inchthick
rounds. Flick out any seeds.
- To the blood orange juice in the bowl, whisk in the lemon juice, the pepper,
the remaining 2 Tbs. of oil and 1 tsp. of salt.
- Slice the remaining two fennel bulbs crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices
(only to remove the core if it’s very tough) and separate the layers with your
fingers. Toss the raw fennel, roasted fennel (and any oil and browned bits left
in the pan) and dressing in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to give it a
gentle scrunch—just to help the flavors come together.
- Very coarsely chop enough of the reserved fennel fronds to give you a
handful. Add the fronds, arugula and pistachios to the bowl, and toss again.
- Spoon some of the fennel mixture onto a platter, arrange some blood
orange slices here and there, then add another layer of fennel and oranges.
Sprinkle on the fennel pollen, bottarga and, if you’d like, a healthy pinch of salt.