Fennel, Orange and Mint Salad

I’ve noticed that the recipes I make generally tend to fall into one of two categories: those that are naturally vegan and those that are a plant-based twist on a usually non-vegan dish. This recipe easily falls into the former. Juicy segments of orange, crunchy slices of fennel and a sharp and sweet citrus dressing with a fresh minty kick all make for a delicious salad.

It’s really simple to make and any leftovers keep pretty well, even in their dressing, as fennel retains it’s crunch fairly well (although admittedly I ate the leftovers from my last batch as soon as my dinner guests had left). If the idea of segmenting an orange seems daunting, let me reassure you, speaking as a very clumsy person, that it is really quite easy. Give it a try and you might be surprised how you do! It leave you with these lovely juicy sections that burst in your mouth and looks far fancier than the effort it actually requires to do. If it’s a total no go then you could alternatively thinly slice the oranges after removing the peel.

I bought a mandolin years ago from a desire to make an apple tart I saw on Pinterest, which obviously turned out to be a total disaster and nothing like the photo. Nevertheless the mandolin has remained in my kitchen and gets a surprising amount of use, such as to slice the fennel in this salad (I also slice my fingers regularly so do take care!) It also makes quick work of slicing cucumbers for salads, cabbage for coleslaw and anything else you can think of. If you don’t have one you can of course just slice it as finely as you can with a knife and it will taste just as good but take a little more time. A mandolin is quite a cheap and nifty bit of kit though if, like me, you’re always in the market for more toys to clog up your kitchen draws (this is the one I have).

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Fennel, Orange and Mint Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Time to prepare: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Fennel bulb
  • 3 Large oranges
  • A small bunch of chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1Tbs white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs orange juice (reserved from segmenting the oranges)
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Start by segmenting your oranges. Cut a slice off from the top and the bottom of the orange, deep enough so that you are into the flesh of the orange. Standing the orange on one of these flat ends take your knife and slice off a strip of peel, working from the top to the bottom of the orange. Continue until you remove all the skin and pith turning the orange over if needed to reach the bottom section. Then gently cut along each membrane to release each segment and place in a bowl (if you’re stuck at all here is a quick video.)
  2. Squeeze the remaining membrane ‘cores’ of the oranges in your hand over a bowl to extract the juice. Set aside.
  3. Trim the fennel bulb and remove any fronds (the feathery green bits on the top). Save some of the fronds for decoration. Thinly mandolin or slice the fennel and place into the bowl with the orange segments.
  4. In a jug briskly whisk together 2 tbs of the orange juice with the olive oil, white wine vinegar and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the dressing over the fennel and orange along with the chopped mint and mix well to combine. Top with the reserved fronds.

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