Fennel salad with roasted walnuts & satsumas
I wasn’t always a fan of salads and I still think there’s nothing quite so disgusting as tired, limp, bruised greens slathered in a creamy, too-thick dressing. Ew. I am still very picky about where I order my salads and find that there are often none better than those that are made with love, at home. One such home is that of my friend Eliza, who turned me onto shaved fennel. I swear Eliza must go through at least 15-pounds of fennel per week, because every time I’ve been over to her lovely abode for dinner (which is a whole lot of times) it’s on the table. Most often sprinkled with a little truffle salt, which is quite delicious. I don’t know that Eliza will like this salad (she’ll probably think it’s too fussy) but I find that the crunchy celery and walnuts, along with the soft satsumas and bright lemon, play very nicely with the fennel.
A couple of notes: If you can’t find satsumas any sweet orange should do. Be sure to taste your walnuts after roasting them and if they are a bit bitter, try rubbing off the skins. As this salad sits the ingredients will begin to release water so it might take on a bit of a soupy appearance. Recombine that flavorful liquid back into the rest of the ingredients – that’s when I think this salad it tastes its best. Eliza, what do you think?
Fennel salad with roasted walnuts & satsumas recipe
2 small heads fennel sliced thin, fronds reserved for garnish
1/2 cup roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
2 – 3 satsuma (or other) oranges, “supremed”
Parsley vinaigrette recipe
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons mild honey (I used orange blossom)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 3oo. Roast walnuts for 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes, or until they become fragrant and deepen in color. Supreme the satsumas by peeling them and pulling them apart in to sections. Then, use a pairing knife to slit the skin at the top of each section and use your fingers to remove the skin. They are very delicate, so take care not to manhandle them. If you are using a regular, heartier orange, you can use this method. Trim the fennel by removing the fronds and any tough or beat up outer layers. Cut into halves and using a mandolin slice very thinly, avoiding the core. Do the same with the celery. Set all aside.
Make the parsley vinaigrette by combining all ingredients in a food processor and blitzing until well combined. It’s ok to have large flecks of parsley as they add to the texture of the salad. Also note that the vinaigrette will taste highly seasoned with salt, but that will mellow out once tossed with the salad.
Toss the fennel, celery and parsley vinaigrette until well combined and garnish with the roasted walnuts, satsuma supremes, fennel fronds and freshly cracked black pepper.