On New Year’s Day my friend Teri texted me a photo of her “Boxing Day salad,” a mix of blood oranges, arugula, shaved fennel, thinly sliced red onion and pomegranate seeds.
“Fresh and bright,” she wrote. “Nice way to wrap up that holiday blitz!”
So true, I thought. Like many, I found myself on January 1st needing a break from the booze and the cheese and the sweets that abound at every turn during the last six weeks of the year. Shortly after seeing Teri’s photo, I made my way to the grocery store in search of winter citrus and greens. Nothing sounded more refreshing or perfect than that very salad at that very moment.
I made the salad for dinner that evening, and I’ve made it a number of times since. It’s nice aside soup or really any wintry dish, but it also can stand alone with the addition of a little protein. I’ve been pulling leftover roasted chicken, tossing it with the greens and fennel, and calling dinner done (with a hunk of bread on the side, of course).
Incidentally, I made this on Instagram Stories, and someone messaged me saying her family makes this salad all the time with the addition of salty black olives. The combination of blood oranges, fennel, pomegranates, and parmesan (or Pecorino) is a classic Sicilian salad, and the addition of black olives is a variation of the dish. Depending on your preferences, change up the contents as you like. And if you really can’t get behind fennel, thinly sliced endive works beautifully, too.
Another idea: plate the salad on individual plates—might be fun for a party?
This is more of a guide than a recipe. Here are the essential elements:
- sliced oranges, any variety you like though Cara Cara and blood oranges are particularly nice
- citrus-shallot vinaigrette
- thinly shaved fennel or endive
- shaved parmesan
A few other ideas: Teri showered her salad with thinly sliced red onions and pomegranate arils, both of which looked striking. When I made this on Instagram Stories, someone messaged me saying her family makes something similar with the addition of salty black olives, which is a classic Sicilian combination.
If you’re looking for video guidance, I made the whole salad in Instagram Stories.
This salad, with the addition of a little protein, could be a standalone meal. I’ve been pulling leftover roasted chicken and tossing it with the greens and fennel. Without the chicken, it’s nice aside soup or really any wintry main course.
- 1 to 2 shallots minced to yield 1/4-1/3 cup
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2 to 3 oranges (count on 1 orange per person)
- flaky sea salt such as Maldon
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 to 4 ounces arugula
- 1 head fennel
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, combine the shallots, salt, and vinegar. Set aside while you peel the oranges.
- Slice off the end of each orange. Squeeze the juice from each end into the bowl of shallots and vinegar. Working with one orange at a time, stand it on its flat end. Use your knife to slice down around the orange to remove the skin. Hug the flesh as you slice—it’s better to lose some flesh in the rind than to have pith clinging to the flesh. Squeeze the rinds into the bowl of shallots and vinegar to extract any juice. Repeat until you’ve peeled all of the oranges. (Video guidance in Instagram Stories.)
- Working with one orange at a time, turn it on its side and slice down crosswise to create 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the oranges on a platter. Season with flaky sea salt.
- Using a fork, whisk the olive oil into the dressing—it will not be emulsified. Taste. Adjust seasoning with more salt if necessary or more oil for a little less bite. Drizzle a few spoonfuls of dressing over the oranges.
- Place the greens and thinly sliced fennel into a large bowl. Drizzle with a few spoonfuls of the dressing. Toss lightly to coat. Taste. Adjust with more dressing or salt to taste.
- Pile the greens on top of the oranges. Use a peeler to shave Parmigiano Reggiano over top. Crack pepper to taste over top. Serve with knife and fork.
- Store extra dressing in a jar in the fridge or at room temperature if your kitchen is cool. Shake or whisk well before using.
Keywords: salad, oranges, fennel, arugula, parmesan, shallots, vinaigrette