Fennel and orange salad

Fennel and orange salad

This a very popular Italian salad that’s just so pretty – I always feel I’ve lost a kilo just looking at it. In season try making it with blood oranges, or add some stoned olives for added drama. But don’t be tempted to add vinegar: the tartness of the oranges plus the judicious use of salt is all that is needed. If the oranges are very sweet, then add a little lemon juice.

Serves 4 as a side salad

3 medium fennel bulbs
2 oranges
extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

Remove the tough outer layers of the fennel bulbs and slice in half. If you have a mandolin it will make easy work of slicing the fennel very thinly. Keep the frothy leaves to scatter over the salad.

Use a sharp paring knife to top and tail the oranges. Then place each one on the chopping board and cut downwards and round the orange to remove the peel and pith from the fruit. Now slice the fruit into circles about 1cm thick and add them to the fennel slices.

Sprinkle with salt, pour over a glug of oil and use your hands to mix it all in. If the oranges are very sweet, you may want to add the lemon juice. Leave it to marinate for 30 minutes before serving