Midnight in Sicily. Sicilian cooking reflects a vast array of Mediterranean influences introduced by its “visitors” from Greece, Normandy, North Africa and Spain. As they say, “always occupied, never conquered”.But this combination of flavors reminds me most of "la cucina ebraica", the cooking of Italian Jews. The elongated Treviso comes from the Veneto region of Italy, but is now grown in California’'s Salinas Valley. I’'ve chosen to grill it for this salad because it accentuates its mildly bitter flavor, which I think matches well with the anise flavor of the fennel. —pierino
2 but can be expanded
bulb fennel with fluffy leafy tops
head Treviso style radicchio (the elongated form)*
blood oranges (reserve one for juicing)
pomegranate juice (e.g. Pom)**
1 1/4 cups
olive oil (plus extra for brushing the radicchio)
Slice your fennel bulb in half, top to bottom. Trim, but save the stalks and tops, especially the fluffy fronds. Cut out the hard core at the base. Then slice the remaining portion into julienne strips. Slice the stalk portion across the grain into disks.
Slice the Treviso in half from top to bottom. Brush with olive oil.
In a food processor pulse the almonds two or three times, just enough to fragment them into crunchy bits.
Heat a dry skillet (we don’t recommend non-stick for this)and then toast the almond pieces and set aside.
Juice one of the oranges.
Using a sharp utility knife peel the remaining two oranges, removing skin and pith. Separate the oranges into segments.
Brush the Treviso halves with olive oil and grill flat sides down on either a hot ridge grill pan or your back yard grill. Allow them to brown on the flat side and get marked up nicely. Remove and slice across the width.
Make your dressing by combining the olive oil, blood orange and pomegranate juices with mustard and whisk together with salt.
Assemble the salad by organizing your fennel pieces and Treviso on a platter. Surround the perimeter with orange segments, and carefully spoon over your dressing. Finish with the toasted almonds and torn up fennel tops.
*If you can’t find Treviso at your market it’s okay to substitute the round Chioggia style. That's totally okay.
** Pom also packs pomegranate seeds which make a great finish to the presentation. Unfortunately it’s a seasonal product not available year round. Nor are the blood oranges.
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.