The ingredients of this salad seem an odd combination but it is the perfect marriage of sweet, salty, and crunchy. This is one of my favorite salads. There is a whole lot going on in one mouthful. You have the sweet, fresh, acidic, citrusy taste of the oranges, contrasted by the earthy and salty flavor of the olives, and the fresh, crisp, anise taste of the fennel. Three vivid and intense flavors that hit you all at once. It’s incredibly easy to make and goes well with grilled chicken. I like to serve it over fresh baby leaf lettuce for a great presentation.
You must use dry-cured black olives for this salad. If you can’t find olives that are pitted, you will have to cut the olives in half and remove the pits.
SICILIAN ORANGE, BLACK OLIVE, AND FENNEL SALAD:
Insalata di Aranci, Alivi Nivuri, é Finocchi (Insalata di Arance, Olive Nere é Finocchi)
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
4 navel oranges
3/4 cup dry-cured Sicilian or Moroccan black Olives, pitted
1/4 fennel bulb, cored, and thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
Baby leaf lettuce (optional)
Using a sharp knife, cut off the peel and white pith from the oranges. Cut the orange in thin, crosswise slices, and cut each slice in half. Place the oranges in a medium serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently. To serve, place a small mound of lettuce leaves on each salad plate. Divide the salad equally, and place on top of the lettuce.