Jan 16 2012

Weekday Lunch: A Salad to Brighten your Day

This is a punchy winter salad destined to bump you out of any winter doldrums, for a brief moment at least. After a long morning, it was impossible not to feel cheered up by peeling and smelling a perfectly ripe blood orange before compiling a beautiful plate.

Inspired by a recipe from the BiRite Market cookbook, I tossed a thinly sliced fennel bulb with vinegar and honey, before layering the fennel on top of a peeled blood orange and surrounding that with a sliced avocado that had been lightly specked with sea salt.

Unless you're a light lunch eater, this salad shouldn't serve as a complete lunch (though you could always double your serving). Instead, pair it with a piece of crusty bread and olive oil or with a bowl of soup--I was lucky enough to have leftover parsnip soup from the night before.

As I ate this, my outlook on the afternoon felt instantly improved. Now if only ripe blood oranges could take away the constant racket of construction outside my office window.

Vibrant Winter Salad

Adapted from the Bi-Rite Market cookbook


1 blood orange

1 head of fennel, with fronds

Juice from 1 lemon

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon honey

salt & pepper

1.5 tablespoons olive oil

1 avocado


1) Slice the tops and bottoms off of the blood oranges. Cut the peel and pith off, using a paring knife. Slice the oranges cross wise into 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.

2) Trim off the fennel stalks, reserving the bulb and fronds. Remove the first outer layer of fennel and then rinse the bulb.

3) Chop 1/2 tablespoon of fronds and put them in a small bowl with the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, a pinch of salt, and a grind of pepper. Whisk to blend and then drizzle with olive oil while whisking.

4) Halve the fennel bulb. Use a sharp knife to cut the fennel crosswise into long strips (make these as narrow as possible!). Transfer to a bowl and then drizzle with the dressing. Toss, taste, and adjust.

5) Arrange the blood orange slices on a plate and then pile the fennel in the center of the slices.

6) Lastly, cut the avocado into 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle them with a touch of salt before adding them to the finished plate. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette on the salad. Enjoy!