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Author Notes: This is a fusion of a classic fennel and orange salad with an orange and olive salad, but with a couple of twists. I have become quite addicted to caramelized fennel with fennel seeds, so I started by caramelizing the fennel. Then because this brings out so much sweetness I decided to let the orange sit briefly with a little salt, which also makes them really juice! A sprinkling of olives, a drizzle of oil and lemon juice and a little bit of mint bring all the flavors together. —fiveandspice
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon raw sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 navel oranges
- 10 or so good quality green olives, pitted and quartered
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Trim the stalks off of the fennel bulb and trim off any of the bottom bulb that needs removing. Remove the outer layers as well, if they are brown. Thinly slice the fennel bulb lengthwise (about 1/4 inch thick pieces), making thin, flat, feathery tear drop shaped pieces. It's okay if the pieces fall apart, but you're trying to get them to hang together as much as possible.
- In a large sautee pan, heat the Tbs. butter and 1 Tbs. olive oil over high heat until foaming. Add as much of the fennel as you can fit in a single layer, cook until the undersides are nicely browned (a couple of minutes), then flip and cook the other sides until brown. Transfer to a a bowl and repeat, adding more olive oil and butter if needed, until you have browned all of the fennel.
- Turn down the heat to medium-low, add another small splash of olive oil to the same, sprinkle in the sugar and the fennel seeds and let the sugar just begin to melt (this only takes seconds). Then, stir in the browned fennel, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and stir to get them coated with a bit of caramelizing sugar. Cook for another one to two minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Remove the ends from the oranges. Then, one at a time, stand each orange on its end and slice the skin and pith off, following the natural curve of each fruit. Cut each orange into quarters, and slice these quarters into 4 wedges. Put the orange pieces in a bowl, sprinkle with a little salt and set aside for 10 minutes.
- On a serving tray spread out the caramelized fennel bulbs. Sprinkle them with the olive pieces and the salted orange pieces. Whisk together 1 Tbs. olive oil with the lemon juice and drizzle this over the salad. Sprinkle with the chopped mint and with a shower of fresh black pepper and a pinch of sea salt.
- Add a nice white wine or aperitif and serve!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Citrus & Olives
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