In a quiet moment this week I found myself idly flicking through the pages of one of my favourite food books: The Flavour Thesaurus is perfect for browsing and often throws up surprising flavour combinations. I opened it at random on a section called Green & Grassy and found Anise and Orange. These flavours are best known in a Harvey Wallbanger (vodka, orange juice and Galliano (a liqueur flavoured with, amongst other things, star anise) but I was reminded of a particularly scrummy salad I first ate in a pub in the New Forest.
Juicy orange segments are teamed with fine slices of aniseedy fennel and sharp red onion rings. I love serving this with grilled fish or barbecued chicken but it makes a perfect light lunch on its own or with the addition of a few walnuts and/or black olives to ring the changes.
Serves 2 as a side dish
1 Small Bulb Fennel
1 Small Red Onion
1 Lemon (juiced)
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Snip and reserve the green fronds from the top of the fennel, remove the outer layer if it is a bit brown and wrinkly, finely slice the remaining fennel and toss it in the lemon juice to stop it browning. If you have a mandolin it’s the perfect way to get nice fine slices. Peel and slice the onion into rings and add to the fennel and lemon juice.
Segment the orange (See here for a “how to” video) over a bowl so that you catch the juice. Place the fennel, orange segments and onion into a large bowl.
Make your dressing from the olive oil, orange juice and lemon juice. You want about 3 parts oil to 1 part citrus juice but adjust according to your own taste and how sweet / sharp you want it to be. Whisk together, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add a few snipped fennel fronds.
Toss the salad in the dressing and serve.