Something about citrus season makes me believe in a benevolent universe. During the coldest and darkest months the steady ripening of oranges, lemons, clementines and the like into tiny packets of sunshine serves as the perfect antidote to winter. A couple of weeks ago one of my circle sisters brought a fennel and orange salad to our Imbolc potluck, two great tastes that taste great together. I was inspired again by this tempting combo last week when another friend emailed me a delicious looking chicken recipe featuring them both. Consequently, It came as no surprise when I dashed into my local market for some fair trade Valentines day chocolate that I spontaneously threw a fennel bulb in my basket , too. I didn't really have a plan, but I did have two tangelos, a navel orange and a red onion. What resulted was a vibrant and delicious salad, perfect for a late winter celebration. Any kind of sweet citrus fruit would work well for this recipe. Go with what you've got or what looks good. In the end you want a ratio of citrus that stands up to the proportion of onion.
Fennel and Citrus Confetti Salad
One Medium Fennel Bulb
One Medium Red Onion
One Navel Orange
Three Stalks of Celery
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Umeboshi Plum Vinegar
Sugar to taste (2 to 4 Tablespoons)
Feta Cheese for Garnish
Process fennel and celery into similar size pieces. I quartered the fennel bulb and used my food processor to cut uniform 1/8 inch slices. If you don't have a food processor use a sharp butcher knife or cleaver and cut as uniformly as possible.
Peel and slice up your chosen citrus fruit into small sections. Make sure to corral the juice as you're slicing and return it to the salad dish as it makes up a substantial portion of the dressing.
Quarter the red onion and julienne into 1/8 inch strips. I did mine in the food processor, but it's hard to control so I'd just go with a knife next time.
I arranged all of the produce in a large baking tray and drizzled with olive oil (I didn't measure, I'm guessing it was roughly a quarter cup) and Umeboshi vinegar to taste. Remember a little Ume goes a long way and adjust your salt seasoning if you use it because it's salty! Next I tossed everything together, sprinkled the sugar on, sampled the salad and adjusted my seasoning. I left the veggies marinating in the baking tray and all that delicious dressing overnight.
Before serving I sprinkled each individual portion with crumbled feta cheese. The creamy and pungent cheese added just the right amount of additional flavor and delectable mouth feel to this bright winter salad!
After enjoying our obligatory special occasion artichoke with Hollandaise sauce we paired this salad with a pork shoulder roast encrusted in garlic, rosemary and thyme and a side of perfectly roasted baby potatoes. Oh! And Prosecco. Always Prosecco. A lovely and low key Valentines dinner!
Magically speaking this mercurial salad is fantastic for purification, protection and healing (Fennel and Onion), as well as attracting and drawing (Orange.) Celery stalks induce lust making this a salad par exellence for Valentines day!