The union of fennel with orange is one of my favourites. Thanks to Diego Bonetto’s foraging tour I learnt how to identify edible plants growing wild in my backyard including fennel.
During the warmer months I love to serve crisp fresh fennel sliced with blood orange and spanish onion.
I also crunch on fennel alone. It helps with digestion and I feel the effects immediately, even as I’m eating it. It has such a clean, fresh flavour.
Food that is so naturally beautiful and in season has to be good for you. Just looking at the stain glass pattern of these blood orange juice vesicles gives me an appreciation for this heavenly fruit.
My winter version of fennel and blood orange salad is just as simple and full of colour.
Serve this with roasted potatoes, pork and crackling and you may never want to eat a roast any other way.
1 large fennel bulb
2 blood oranges
1 buffalo mozzarella
Extra virgin olive oil
Rise the fennel and cut off the stalks. I reserve these to eat fresh while I’m cooking. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise and then in half again so you are left with quarters. Slice the quarters evenly and lay on a baking tray.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake at 200°c until they start to become golden and caramelised. They will still be firm but you can continue to cook them if you prefer a softer texture.
Peel and segment the oranges.
Remove the fennel from the oven and toss the orange segments into the baking tray so they are just warmed through. Layer the fennel and orange segments onto a serving dish.
Tear the mozzarella using your hands and scatter over the top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Garnish with some fennel fronds for colour and a touch of that trademark anise taste.