Addicted to Blood Orange Fennel Salad
This recipe is from a Sur La Table Cooking Class. I attended an Italian Pasta Workshop with a professional chef at my local store. We made homemade pasta – egg ravioli with sage brown butter sauce and pappardelle with bolognese and this salad. The classes are a great way to learn and enjoy an instructional cooking experience. The food was terrific, and I placed the salad recipe into our family meal rotation. I can find a reason to eat it every week. I served it Christmas Eve, dinner, and again for New Year’s Eve. I am making it the third week in a row to take pictures for the blog. Yes, I am addicted to this recipe, but lucky for me, there has not been an intervention.
Although the name is not very appetizing, blood oranges have a dark red interior and less acidic taste but slightly more bitter than the traditional orange. If you have never tried blood oranges, please place them on your grocery list! Quick while they are in season – December – April. Thriving in warm climates, they are mostly grown in California, Texas, Italy, and Spain. They get their unique color from anthocyanin, which is the reason for much of the nutritional benefits. In fact, the post on Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage explains some of these health features. Additionally, blood oranges contain Vitamin A, C, potassium, iron, calcium, and fiber. According to Very Well Fit, oranges can also help prevent the build-up of bad cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cataracts.
Use Fennel Bulb for Recipe
Fennel, another plant from Italy, is a member of the carrot family, but it looks like an onion with celery stalks growing out of it and topped with dill. It tastes nothing like any of those plants. Fennel contains a bulb, stalks, and fronds. They are all edible, but I have never used the stalks other than leaving them on the bulb as a handle when I slice them on the box grater. Fennel bulb is fantastic sliced raw in a salad because of its crunchy texture, and the mild licorice flavor is a pleasant addition. The trick is to slice it very thin to keep the unique flavor more subtle. I recommend a box grater or a mandoline.
Toast cumin seeds in a dry (no oil) skillet over medium heat.
Place cumin seeds between a folded sheet of parchment or wax paper.
Crush seeds with a rolling pin until fine.
Use fennel bulb only for this recipe.
Remove the bottom and cut off the top of the stalks. Leave some stalks as a handle when slicing.
Slice in half lenthwise and remove core.
Slice fennel bulb thinly with slicing side of box grater or mandoline.
Peel and slice blood oranges. Cut slices in half to form "fans".
Assemble salad and toss with dressing.
Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Pistachios
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
Blood Orange Fennel Salad is a bright-tasting side dish blending the distinct favors of blood oranges, arugula, and fennel with a cumin dressing. Not only does it make a stunning presentation, but it tastes as good as it looks.
- 3 Tablespoons white balsamic or red wine vinegar* see note for Paleo
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and crushed or ground**
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 blood oranges or 2 large navel oranges***
- 3 cups arugula
- 1 medium fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced on the mandoline****
- 1/4 cup roasted pistachios
- 1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
- Toast Cumin Seeds: Heat a small dry frying pan (no oil) over medium heat for a minute or two. Add Cumin seeds and toast until fragrant and slightly browner in color—about 3 minutes. Place immediately on a plate so the seeds do not continue to cook. Grind in a spice grinder, mortar & pestle, or place between a piece of wax paper and use a rolling pin to crush the seeds. See the illustration post.
- Toast Mix Dressing Ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, ground cumin seeds, mustard, and honey. While whisking, gradually stream in oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.
- Prepare Salad Ingredients: Remove a thin slice from the bottom of the fennel bulb and remove the fronds and stalks. Leave a few inches of the stem – this serves as a handle to save your knuckles when slicing the bulb on the box grater. Slice the bulb in half lengthwise and cut away the tiny rigid core. Run the bulb down the box grater side with a single slice or use a mandoline to obtain thin slices. Note: there are four sides to the box grater. Use the side with a single blade for the best results. Use a protective glove as your knuckles get closer to the end of the bulb or slice any small remaining pieces with your knife. Place fennel pieces in a large salad bowl. Using a paring knife, cut the peel and pith from the oranges—slice oranges crosswise into ¼-inch thick fan-like slices.
- Combine Salad: Toss oranges, arugula, and fennel in a large bowl. Pour enough salad dressing to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle with pistachios and mint.
*For a Paleo diet, check ingredients for added sugar; red wine vinegar is usually compliant.
** See illustrations in the post for toasting and grinding cumin seeds.
*** Navel oranges or grapefruit are great substituted for blood oranges.
**** Be sure to slice the fennel very thinly and not use any of the stalks. See the image in the recipe post.
- Prep Time: 20
- Category: salad
- Method: No Cook
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: arugula, fennel, blood oranges, pistachios, cumin dressing, festive recipe, special occassion salad
4 responses to “Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Pistachios”
The flavors in this salad worked well together. Definitely a keeper. The dressing with the cumin is amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
So happy that you enjoyed the flavors.
So bright and tasty. The cumin in the dressing is a game changer.
Thanks for making and commenting on this delicious salad. It has so many great flavors, especially the cumin.