I have great affection for this salad – it’s a frequent feature of my winter table. Fennel is best at this time of year, as are navel oranges, but I particularly love this salad with another cold-season star: blood oranges. Key to this dish is using well-chilled oranges, a quality, fragrant oil and fennel in its prime: always choose fat, round bulbs (I find the flatter, fan-shaped bulbs to be inferior). Try this salad with grilled fish, lamb chops or braised beef.
6 blood oranges, chilled
2 red shallots, very finely diced
4 sprigs oregano, leaves picked
10 marinated, semi-dried black olives
freshly ground black pepper
1 large fennel bulb
100ml fruity extra-virgin olive oil
1. Remove skin and pith from oranges. Slice the flesh into 5mm rounds, then arrange on a serving plate.
2. Scatter the shallot over the orange, followed by the oregano.
3. Pit the olives by hand, tearing the flesh and scattering over the salad. Season the salad with salt and pepper.
4. Slice the fennel very finely (a Japanese mandoline is ideal), then pile into little mounds on top of the orange. Season again with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil and serve.