Today’s Lunch: Fennel and Blood Orange Salad

It’s Adar, the month of reversals. So for lunch I made a fennel salad with Blood Oranges (red) and cherry tomatoes (yellow), just to mix things up a bit.

My last trip to Machane Yehuda yielded not only a beautiful collection of photos (Have you taken the market produce quiz yet?), but some interesting finds. Blood oranges, for example. And yellow cherry tomatoes.

You might have read my complaint that there are a limited number of fruits and vegetables here in Israel. Well, the longer I live here, the more varieties of produce I see popping up in the market. Which makes me shudder to think what they were limited to in the years before I got here.

Unless of course they were just waiting for me to arrive.

Composing a salad, choosing the ingredients should be based on color, texture, and flavor. For this salad, the base was fennel, and the counterpoint was blood oranges. These were chosen from Machane Yehuda. The fennel has a delicate sweet earthy flavor and no color, but a very crunchy texture. The orange has color and flavor, and the texture is very soft. The tomatoes are sweet and acidic, with an vibrant color. The onions provided hints of purple, and  added sharpness and crispness. The basil was a final note of bright color and sweet and bitter. I tied it together with sweet-sour balsamic vinegar and fruity, earthy extra-virgin olive oil. A pinch of salt finished it off.

On Shabbat, I varied the salad by leaving out the tomatoes (there was an allergy), no basil, and added more crunch with crushed hazelnuts. Instead of balsamic vinegar, I used red wine vinegar. It was less sweet, so the fennel stood out more.

A  salade composée is meant to be eye appealing as well as appetizing. By experimenting with the balance of the ingredients you use, visually, by texture and by flavor, you will always have beautiful, delicious and unique salads.



2 thoughts on “Today’s Lunch: Fennel and Blood Orange Salad”

    1. For us, who are forbidden from eating blood, it may seem unappetizing, but it’s more common in non-kosher cuisines. Sausages like boudin noir, black pudding, and blutwurst are all made with blood. It’s used as a thickener in Asian cuisines.

      Compared to all that, I’ll happily call it a blood orange.

      Full disclosure: Not all of my Today’s Lunch posts are made ‘today.’ When I make something interesting, I photograph it, type up the article when I get a chance (usually in the middle of the night like all good bloggers) and put it in the post queue. You’ll notice they all get posted at 10AM.

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