Who says you can’t eat great salads in winter (actually, I’m not sure anyone really says that)? Sure, there’s a lack of soft leafy greens and herbs, plump and sweet tomatoes, crunchy multi-colored bell peppers and other salad-y ingredients at the farmer’s market, but the cold winter months have got some amazing stuff as well — think root vegetables, citrus fruits and fennel, just to name a few.
While I always thought I wasn’t a fennel person (unless the fennel had been caramelized to death in the oven) this shaved fennel salad with refreshing citrus and pomegranate seeds has become one of my new favorite winter pick-me-ups. Sure, most winter comfort foods are warm, fatty and starchy and this winter salad is quite the opposite – it’s fresh, tangy, crunchy and oh so pretty – but it’s the perfect dish to brighten up your day. Plus, it really shines as a side dish next to your other beige and brown (but oh-so-comforting) winter dishes!
In making this salad, you really make use of all that produce that makes the gray winter days a bit more tolerable…well, maybe not all, since this salad technically only has under 5 ingredients. Thinly sliced fennel bulbs are dressed with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a bit of extra-virgin olive oil after which the crunchy slivers are mixed with some orange segments that add a bright, tart sweetness (the de-skinning of which is perhaps the trickiest that making this salad will get). Oh. And let’s not forget about that scattering of ruby-red pomegranate seeds glistening like jewels on top of that light green and orange pile of goodness… what more can you ask for? Well, perhaps a handful of toasted sliced almonds or walnuts wouldn’t go amiss in this salad, should you have them laying around, but you surely won’t be dissatisfied without them.
Fennel, Orange and Pomegranate Winter Salad
- For the dressing:
- 50ml freshly squeezed lemon-, or orange juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly cracked pepper
- For the rest of the salad:
- 2 large fennel bulbs
- 2 large oranges
- Seeds from ½ pomegranate
- Make the dressing: Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to use.
- Slice the fennel in quarters and remove the hard core at the bottom. Slice fennel as thinly as you possibly can and add to a bowl. Reserve soft green fennel fronds if you have any. Toss lightly with half of the dressing
- To peel orange segments, cut the top and bottom off the oranges. Carefully cut off the rest of the peel and pith on the outer part of the orange segments, following the rounded shape of the orange with a knife. Use the knife to gently cut out the orange segments by cutting exactly next to the line of the skins on both sides of each segment. Add peeled orange segments to the bowl with the fennel.
- Add rest of the dressing to the bowl with orange and fennel and toss. Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and reserved fennel fronds.