Recipe by Master Chef Franco Lania, as demonstrated in An Evening with Franco Lania. For more information on upcoming classes, check out the schedule for Zest! Cooking School at Brighton.
This is a Sicilian summertime favorite and refreshing salad!
2-3 medium size bulbs of fennel, cleaned, tops (fronds) reserved for lemon-mint vinaigrette
2-3 segmented oranges, pith removed (Juice Reserved for lemon-mint vinaigrette)
15-20 olives pitted Kalamata Olives (halved if desired)
2 teaspoons toasted fennel seed*
8-10 fresh mint leaves…small to medium in seize
Lemon-Mint Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Clean fennels remove any bruised parts, slice thin on slicer machine, mandolin, or Sharp chef’s knife. (slightly thicker than shaved)
Reserve in cold acidulated water (water with squeezed lemon juice added) Can add some ice cubes(optional). Place in refrigerator until ready to serve. Don’t keep in water longer than one day!
Segment the oranges no seeds or pith (save the juice!). Pitt the olives if necessary.
Pick the fennel fronds, reserve in cold iced water till service along with the sliced fennel. Julian mint leaves with a clean dry knife, on a clean dry cutting board, cover loosely with a slightly damp paper towel and set aside until served.
Toast and lightly crush the fennel seeds. Put in bowl to reserve for later.
To Make the lemon mint vinaigrette:
6 lemons, juiced
3/4c Extra Virgin Olive Oil*
1 splash of white wine vinegar* (more or less, to taste)
Reserved orange juice from Fennel & Orange Salad
Salt and white pepper to taste
Mix honey with lemon and vinegar. Slowly add the EVO. (using a whisk* or via a blender drizzling the oil in slowly while stand mixer is running on slow-medium speed using the whisk attachment).
Season with kosher salt and fresh cracked white pepper* and sugar to taste.
Be careful with the sugar… use sparingly! You do not want a sweet vinaigrette! It’s a balanced vinaigrette with a subtle sweetness…this is key!
Procedure for Serving:
Place fennel in mixing bowl. Add all of the ingredients to the mixing bowl except the toasted crushed fennel seeds and fronds.
Mix or shake vinaigrette well, then add a liberal amount to the bowl and toss gently so the orange segments don’t break to bits. Taste and season with fresh cracked white pepper and Kosher salt (go easy on the Salt and Pepper).
Plate fennel salad on chilled plates disbursing the oranges and olives evenly amongst the servings. Garnish top of salad with the fennel fronds, and sprinkle a pinch or two of the crushed toasted fennel seeds over salad and serve.
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