Sabtu, 12 Maret 2016

Spring Salad with Oranges, Fennel, Feta & Pine Nuts

I could use a little dose of Spring right now, what about you?
Here's a bright, fresh and crunchy salad that is easy to make, travels well in case you are taking it to enjoy at friend or family's house.

Recently, I rushed to bring a salad to a lunch at my mom's with all my sisters.
Honestly, I was going to stop and buy a bagged salad at the grocery store, I was just tired and a bit uninspired.  Not much in the fridge, but once I had another look, I saw a slightly sad looking fresh fennel bulb that I bought at Trader Joe's recently.  Now the thing about fennel is that is does last a long time and retains it's texture, but fact was, I needed to use this one up.

Here it is shortly before I hit the road to grandmother's house (ahem... I mean Mom's house).  Have salad, will travel. Perfect to wrap up and take to go

Here are the ingredients before I started, I must admit, I didn't intend to blog this one, but it started to come together quickly so I decided to take some photos.  Then, later after sharing with Mom and sisters (the biggest food critics) I decided this one was worth sharing.

Serves 5-6
1 large fennel bulb, cut very thin (if there is green on the top, retain some for the salad too)
2 oranges, peeled and sliced (plus 1-2 Tbsp of juice*)
6 cups of romaine lettuce, cut up into bite size pieces
2-3 Tbsp of oil, either olive or vegetable
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice 
Salt and Pepper
2-3 Tbsp of pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup feta, crumbled or cut into cubes

Prep the oranges by cutting the peel off the outside of the oranges, removing the white part too.  There is some waste, but it gives you nice looking, easy to eat sections for the salad.  I squeezed the peels (which have lots of orange still attached on the inside to make the dressing*).

Toast the pine nuts over medium high heat in a fry pan,  keep shaking them until they start to brown.It will take about 4-5 minutes, but be careful not to burn them.  Remove from the fry pan and let cool.

Make the dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl (you will build the salad on top it, tossing it before serving) by adding the olive oil, mustard, orange and lemon juices.  Mix together with a fork, or small whisk.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the chopped up romaine, then layer on the thinly cut fennel, the cut up oranges, fennel fronds (green part), crumbled feta and pine nuts.  Cover with plastic and chill until ready to serve.

I buy my pine nuts at Trader Joe's and I store them in a freezer Ziploc bag in the freezer between uses.  My reason?  I've had too many pine nuts go rancid when stored in the cupboard.  What? You don't know what a rancid pine nut tastes like?  Oh.... you will know, I promise.
Best idea?
Buy them and immediately throw them into the freezer for a moment such as this.

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