Mozzarella, Fennel and Orange Salad
This fennel and orange salad goes well with all kinds of things, but especially with fish, with gammon, and with chicken. Or simply on its own, maybe with some fresh crusty bread.
Of course, if you can manage to find some spanking fresh mozzarella, you raise the salad to the sublime. That will not be such a hard task if you are lucky enough to be in Italy…or London, where you can go to the urban dairy, La Latteria. Follow this link for an interview with the owner, Simona Di Vietri.
Recipe for mozzarella, fennel and orange salad
• 2 x 100g/4 oz mozzarella balls
• 1 tbsp olive oil plus more for frying
• 1 orange
• 1 fennel bulb
• 1 tbsp honey – the bitterest you can find
• ½ tsp fennel seeds
• 60ml/¼ cup/4 tbsps fresh pesto
• 30g/¼ cup/14 pitted black olives – Crespi are best
• Smoked salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 50g/2 oz rocket
• Crusty bread to mop up the abundant juices
1. In a large frying pan dry fry the fennel seeds.
2. Take the fronds off the fennel and retain. Cut the fennel bulb into eight thinnish wedges.
3. Cut the orange in half – set one half aside and zest and juice the other onto a deepish platter.
4. Add the olive oil, two teaspoons of honey and the fennel seeds. Stir to mix. Season.
5. Pour a little oil into the frying pan and fry the fennel. Spoon over two teaspoons of honey. Mix in well. Fry until the fennel is golden on all sides (it’ll take three or four minutes each side).
6. Meanwhile slice the mozzarella and soak it in the dressing.
7. Peel and slice the other half of the orange.
8. When the fennel is golden, arrange to one side on the plate between the leaves of mozzarella and the slices of orange, drizzling over any juices left in the frying pan.
9. Shred the rocket, and place on the other half of the platter, drizzling over some peppery olive oil.
10. Roughly chop the olives into halves or thirds, scatter over the whole plate.
11. Dot over the pesto.
12. Serve with the crusty bread.