Caramelized Fennel and Orange Salad

There is one vegetable that I favor above all. I didn't like it as a child. I most probably hated it and wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. Now I'm not exactly sure where I first tasted this vegetable again and decided that it was my favorite. It just kind of grew on me. It grew and grew like a love that blossoms and here I am confessing my love for Fennel. Some people call it Anise, I just call it delicious. My favorite way to eat Fennel is sliced thin, drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fresh Lemon, S&P. I could eat it this way every day for the rest of my life. That being said, I'm not in an unhealthy relationship with my Fennel and sometimes I do make it differently.

For my Husband and Sister's collective birthday dinner, I started cooking three days before. Apparently that's what you need to do when you have a day job. So I needed a way to cook the ingredients for this salad that was low and slow and wouldn't require much attention. I decided to stick the Fennel and Orange slices in the oven for 3 hours on 200 degrees. The results were fabulous. The Fennel became a deep, caramelized licorice flavor that you just couldn't get without roasting. The slow roast process turns the Fennel into an almost candy-like flavor. It is absolutely addicting. Paired with the perfect compliments, arugula, orange, tarragon and topped with a raspberry vinaigrette. This fruity, complex salad will have you begging for more.

Caramelized Fennel and Orange Salad

2 Heads of Fennel, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch pcs.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly Cracked S&P
3 Oranges, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
Turbinado or Raw Sugar
1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
Handful of Honey Roasted Almonds
1 Tbs. Fresh Tarragon, stripped from stem

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbs. Red Wine Vinegar
4 Tbs. Raspberry Vinegar
Juice from the scrap orange slices (about 2 tbs.)
Freshly Cracked Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Toss the Fennel on a baking sheet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, S&P.  
On a separate baking sheet lay orange slices and top with sprinkling of Turbinado sugar. 
Throw both trays in the oven and forget about them for about 3 hours. 

In the meantime, mix together all ingredients for the dressing and set aside. 
Place desired amount of Arugula in a large bowl. 
Layer Fennel and Orange one on top of the other all around the bowl to make it look pretty.

 If you don't care about looks, throw everything into the bowl, toss and eat, otherwise, listen up. 
Layer the Fennel and Orange slices by overlapping in the same direction all the way around. 
Top with Red Onion slices, Honey Roasted Almonds, and Tarragon. 
Fill the middle gap with another orange or fennel. 

Just before serving, dress the salad with the Raspberry Vinaigrette. Toss and ENJOY!


Popular Posts