my salad days February 28, 2010


When I was in Brooklyn in January, we had a fabulous meal at a restaurant called The Vanderbilt. Plate after plate came out – all meant for sharing, of course – each one more delicious than the next. One of them was this tangle of fresh fennel, pickled fennel, blood oranges, parsley and sharp salty cheese…all tossed in this wonderful vinaigrette. I pretty much monopolized that salad and swooned over every bite. Not so much on the sharing in this case.

I started thinking about that salad today when I was standing in front of the fridge looking for something to make with what was in there. While I didn't have the time to make pickled fennel, I had most of the ingredients to come close to replicating that dish. I added the arugula to make this salad filling as a main dish. The herby parsley mixed with the tart vinaigrette, the perfume-y fennel and the salty olives and cheese is fabulous. It's punctuated by the incredible (and seasonally fleeting so act fast) blood oranges that add a touch of sweetness. If you do have the time to make some pickled fennel, throw it in there – it would be an amazing addition.

Fennel, Blood Orange and Arugula Salad – serves 2 as an entree salad or 4 as a side salad

  • 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • 2 blood oranges, peeled and cut into supremes
  • 1/2 cup good quality pitted green olives
  • 3 cups (or large handfuls however you choose to measure) arugula, washed then dried
  • 1/4 freshly shaved Parmesan cheese – shaving made with a peeler
  • 4 tablespoons fresh chopped curly parsley
  • 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of two large lemons – close to 1/4 of a cup
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

– For the vinaigrette: Whisk together chopped parsley, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl and set aside while making the salad

– For the salad: Combine arugula, fennel, Parmesan cheese and olives in large salad bowl. Pour on vinaigrette and toss to thoroughly coat. Gently add blood orange segments and give the mixture one last delicate toss. Serve immediately.


Charlene Feb 28, 2010 07:02 am

Oh, this sounds so good! A few questions though. Seems like way too much lemon juice. Do you normally use almost as much lemon juice as olive oil in your vinaigrettes or is there something about this particular salad that calls for it? Hope that makes sense. Curly parsley, again, is that just your personal preference? Lastly, help! I have a hard time finding a good green olive. Can you suggest a particular one I can look for in the olive bars and/or a good brand of canned green olives? For that matter, if anyone knows of a good brand of kalamata olives, I would be grateful. All the canned ones I’ve tried have been nasty.
BTW, I thought the blood oranges in the picture were slices of roasted beet, which also sounds good for this salad.

Ed Schenk Feb 28, 2010 11:02 am

Fennel and orange are a great combination!

tamih Feb 28, 2010 06:02 pm

About the blood oranges – these are the deepest red blood oranges I’ve ever seen. They were super delicious but a little unusual to the eye.
Yes…for this I used this much lemon juice vs. olive oil. Feel free to do baby steps on this and make it to your taste. I feel like the pepper in the arugula and the salt in the olives and the Parmesan allow for a little more acid. This is all a personal preference.
Curly parsley is my preference here but you can substitute flat leaf easily if you have it on hand or prefer it.
I honestly don’t know a good kind of canned green olive. I used cracked green olives from the olive bar at my local farmers market. You can also use Picholine olives here, which are extra flavorful and delicious. I didn’t use them here because they normally do NOT come pitted and I was making this salad out of convenience. For kalamatas, I tend to also use olive bar olives or ones in the jar at the very least.
Hope this helps!
– t*

Angela@spinachtiger Mar 1, 2010 06:03 pm

That is beautiful. Those oranges are incredible.

Charlene Mar 2, 2010 07:03 pm

Thanks, Tamih. Yes, it does help, all of it. I’m still discovering how different ingredients play off of each other, ergo, the extra lemon juice with the peppery arugula and salty olives and Parmesan, but I’ll do as you suggest and take baby steps.

Renaissance Clothing Mar 10, 2010 11:03 am

The salad looks very great and I am sure it also taste very GREAT!

[…] Run With Tweezers’ My Salad Days […]

Barbara | Creative Culinary Aug 10, 2011 08:08 pm

This is simply gorgeous.

[…] If the salad is more about the ingredients and the dressing is simple or a common recipe, I won’t bother dressing the greens. I might put it in a small bowl off to the side or in the background – most people know about a balsamic vinaigrette so I give them credit for knowing what it looks like and I focus on the beautiful fresh produce…or I just give the salad a bit of a spritz with a small spritzer to show moisture ¬†for an example see my post here. […]