Molly Stevens' Roasted Fennel, Red Onion, and Orange Salad

By • February 25, 2014 18 Comments

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Author Notes: Three of our winter standbys -- an orange, an onion, and a fennel bulb -- walk into an oven together, and morph into a warm winter salad that virtually dresses itself. Adapted slightly from All About Roasting: A New Approach to A Classic Art (W.W. Norton and Company, 2011).Genius Recipes

Serves 4

  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs (about 1 pound untrimmed)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 small navel orange, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400 degrees F (375 degrees convection). Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (this prevents the oranges from sticking to the pan).
  2. Trim the fronds from the fennel. Stand a bulb on its base on the cutting board and cut it in half lengthwise, cutting from the core end to the stem end. (If the bulb is more oblong than round, as some are, you will create two halves that are thinner and flatter rather than thicker and bulbous.) Use a paring knife to remove most of the core from each half (no need to get it all out). Lay each half flat on the cutting surface and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick crescent-shaped slices. Toss onto the baking sheet and repeat with the second fennel bulb if you have two.
  3. Cut the onion in half, cutting from root to stem end. Peel and remove the root end from both halves. Slice the onion halves crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons and add to the fennel.
  4. Next, slice about 1 1/2 inches off each end of the orange and reserve (you'll use these later to squeeze over the salad). Stand the orange up on one cut end and cut it lengthwise in half, and then cut each half lengthwise in half again, leaving you with 4 pieces. Arrange each quarter with cut side down and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick quarter-moon-shaped pieces.
  5. Add the orange to the fennel and onion. Drizzle the olive oil on top and season well with salt and plenty of pepper. Toss to coat and arrange as best you can in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  6. Roast, stirring with a spatula after 15 minutes to ensure even cooking and again every 10 minutes or so. The vegetables close to the edge of the pan will brown more quickly than those in the center, so stirring and then shaking the pan to restore an even layer helps everything cook at the same rate. Continue roasting until the vegetables and orange are tender and the outer edges are beginning to caramelize, 25 to 45 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a serving dish (I like to use a wide, shallow bowl). Let cool for at least 15 minutes or to room temperature. Squeeze the juice from one of the reserved orange ends over the salad and taste. If it tastes a little flat, add a pinch of salt and squeeze the other orange piece over it. Drizzle with a little of your best olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature.

More Great Recipes: Fruit|Vegetables|Salads|Side Dishes|Fennel

Topics: Holiday Entertaining, Christmas

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Comments (18) Questions (2)


about 1 month ago Kerry Grisley

SO, so good. I broiled at the end to get some nice caramel/crispy bits. Added some sultanas too. Served with a vegetarian chickpea/saffron/spinach stew (adapted from love and lemons website).


about 1 month ago Taylor Stanton

This was fantastic. Would definitely make again.


over 1 year ago Lisa Brooke

Do you think I could make this the night before serving at a dinner party?


over 1 year ago Maylin Mora

Love love love!!! Great taste.


over 1 year ago Vivi B.

Oooh, I loved this. I overcooked it and got the proportions wrong and I STILL loved it. Such a beautiful and delicious combination of colours and flavours.


over 1 year ago gorzd

Delicious - will make it again. Used a very juicy organic naval orange, added a little salt.


over 1 year ago Paul

I thought this dish was just OK. I added what I thought was a significant amount of salt, and it still seems rather flat to me. And contrary to what Sarah said, I do think this serves 4 people. Each person gets about a fist-sized portion, which is more than enough.


over 1 year ago neighome

I found that salt was key to the flavoring. My first taste after what I thought was a generous salting was very disappointing. So I added a bit more. The flavor improved to OK, but not delicious. Encouraged by the improvement, I kept adding salt, tasting, and eventually voila! I had a really delicious dish. Adults and kids alike gobbled it up.


over 1 year ago Natalie Bullion

So tasty! I can't wait to make this again. I found that it made only enough for a side for two.


over 1 year ago Sarah Hamilton

This tasted quite good, but in the quantities suggested comes out to little more than a small side salad for two people - more of a tasty bite than a substantial side in a meal. Given that and the frequent checking needed in order to stir while roasting, I'm not sure this would be worth it if you were feeding more than two.


over 1 year ago Anthony Back

We devoured this--absolutely brilliant. I actually loved the faint bitterness and the sweetness of the orange. Served with the chicken adobo elsewhere on this site--a great cultural mashup!


over 1 year ago kschurms

This is almost the exact same recipe my family has been making for years; we call it a Sicilian orange salad. The only difference is that we add some black olives. The saltiness pairs perfectly with citrus.


over 1 year ago Burf

First off: Huge fan of the genius recipes! They've all been great.

But this one... The orange with the rind was just too bitter for our palates. After a few attempts, we gave up and ate around the oranges. I used a cara cara, maybe that's where I went wrong? Curious to see what others thought of this recipe?


over 1 year ago Burf

If I could delete my comment, I would. I think I messed this one up with the type of orange I chose. In my defense, it was a beautiful piece of citrus in the co-op.


over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Hi Burf -- I'm sorry to hear it wasn't a hit. I found the orange to be faintly, pleasantly bitter, mellowed from the roasting. I do tend to like bitter flavors though. hope you still enjoyed the rest of it -- Stevens suggests in her headnote that even if you don't like the orange rind itself, you may want to leave it in to flavor the rest of the dish and then push it aside.


over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hi Burf! I just want to chime in that it really may be the fault of the cara cara. They are so pretty, but they're actually half grapefruit, half orange, so they're more bitter than your standard orange. I made a similar poor choice (seduced by the pretty pink) and used cara cara in a roasted salmon, fennel, and orange dish and it was waaaaay bitter (and I love bitter flavor). But, navel oranges probably would have been just pleasantly bitter, as Kristen says.


over 1 year ago carswell

I used a navel orange and found that the rind really didn't cook. However, it didn't ruin the dish in my opinion - it was still good. That said - I like bitter things too and actually added a radicchio to the dish that was languishing in my veg drawer.


6 months ago Miachel Breton

I'm so glad you didn't delete it, or I would have made the same mistake! Thanks for sharing it. We all help each other cook better. :)