When I was in Brooklyn in January, we had a fabulous meal at a restaurant called The Vanderbilt. Plate after plate came out - all meant for sharing, of course - each one more delicious than the next. One of them was this tangle of fresh fennel, pickled fennel, blood oranges, parsley and sharp salty cheese...all tossed in this wonderful vinaigrette. I pretty much monopolized that salad and swooned over every bite. Not so much on the sharing in this case.
I started thinking about that salad today when I was standing in front of the fridge looking for something to make with what was in there. While I didn't have the time to make pickled fennel, I had most of the ingredients to come close to replicating that dish. I added the arugula to make this salad filling as a main dish. The herby parsley mixed with the tart vinaigrette, the perfume-y fennel and the salty olives and cheese is fabulous. It's punctuated by the incredible (and seasonally fleeting so act fast) blood oranges that add a touch of sweetness. If you do have the time to make some pickled fennel, throw it in there - it would be an amazing addition.
Fennel, Blood Orange and Arugula Salad - serves 2 as an entree salad or 4 as a side salad
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
- 2 blood oranges, peeled and cut into supremes
- 1/2 cup good quality pitted green olives
- 3 cups (or large handfuls however you choose to measure) arugula, washed then dried
- 1/4 freshly shaved Parmesan cheese - shaving made with a peeler
- 4 tablespoons fresh chopped curly parsley
- 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- juice of two large lemons - close to 1/4 of a cup
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- For the vinaigrette: Whisk together chopped parsley, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl and set aside while making the salad
- For the salad: Combine arugula, fennel, Parmesan cheese and olives in large salad bowl. Pour on vinaigrette and toss to thoroughly coat. Gently add blood orange segments and give the mixture one last delicate toss. Serve immediately.