Week Beginning July 17

Fennel:

Is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves.  Fennel is a bulbous vegetable with a tall, wispy, fronded top that looks a lot  like dill. The fronds can be used in salads, but the main attraction of fennel is the bulb itself.  It's firm and crunchy, and it tastes a bit like licorice or anise.  It has a fresh, bright taste and it's a favorite vegetable for salads and slaws. It can also be grilled or braised until tender.

The bulb is made of overlapping layers of vegetable, almost like a cabbage — but very firm and hard. To be used in salads, fennel should be sliced very thin, and it's easiest to do this with a mandoline.

Arugula, Fennel and Orange Salad

1/4 cup fresh orange juice 

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 

2 tsp. grated orange zest 

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 

2 Tbs. canola oil 

2 tsp. Dijon mustard 

1 ½  tsp. fresh tarragon 

1 green onion, chopped 

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 large fennel bulb 

3 large navel oranges 

4 cups arugula

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, olive oil, canola oil, mustard, tarragon and shallot. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut off the stems and feathery fronds of the fennel bulb and remove any bruised or discolored outer layers. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and cut out any tough core parts.  Cut the bulb in half and, using a mandolin, cut into thin pieces.  Set aside.

Working with 1 orange at a time, and using a sharp knife, cut a slice off both ends of the orange to reveal the flesh. Stand the orange upright on a cutting board and  slice off the peel and pith in strips, following the contour of the fruit. Cut the orange in half crosswise, place each half cut side down, and thinly slice vertically to create half-moons. Repeat with the remaining oranges. 

Place the fennel and arugula in a large serving bowl, add half of the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat thoroughly. Arrange the orange slices in a pinwheel or other design on top, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately.