Move over winter, spring is arriving. You know it is by the bunches of purple baby artichokes hanging from the market stalls above the wooden crates of tiny fave or broad beans and hessian sacks peeled back to show off the new season peas. Not only a feast for the eyes but the promise of flavour, taste and texture ready to be eaten crudo, perhaps combined with pieces of fresh pecorino, black pepper and olive oil or used to transform the bland staples into something mouthwatering and spectacular.
Bridge the seasons briefly with a tribute to the end of winter. Combine the versatile aniseed flavoured palate cleanser fennel with the last of the blood oranges both thinly sliced into a salad which calls for a robust and peppery new season Tuscan olive oil rather than its lighter Ligurian cousin. Its freshness will set the tone for leaping into the crisp, fresh and sparkling season of spring. Enjoy.
- 3 large fennel bulbs
- 1- 2 large oranges segmented and juiced [approx. 4 tablespoons of juice]
- 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 bunch of rocket or watercress
- 2-3 blood oranges thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
Cut the fennel in half through to the base, across the stems and remove the triangular shaped root of the fennel, which is too tough for this delicate salad.
Finely slice the fennel and place in a bowl, adding the orange juice and olive oil immediately to prevent the fennel from discolouring.
Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley just before serving.
Place on the rocket salad and serve straight away with orange slices.