Recipe: Citrus and Fennel Salad
This week’s recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.
We’re so lucky to have a group of friends who are not only smart, wonderful and funny, but they’re also great cooks! During the long winter we get together for regular potlucks as often as possible — a cherished respite from our self-induced cold-weather isolation. Without fail these get-togethers are overflowing with great food, but there is one dish in particular that we always hope we’ll see on the menu.
There’s nothing quite like the bright and colorful citrus fennel salad expertly made by our good friend and better chef, Jamie Paxton. Although the salad breaks two of Jake’s golden food rules (no fruit in salad, and no raw fennel) it’s unfailingly delicious and we crave it all winter.
The perfect antidote to the winter food blues, this beautiful salad marries simple, bold flavors and one of our favorite cutting techniques, the super-impressive and easy citrus supreme. It’s also a great dish to play around with. Use different kinds of citrus, change the proportions, throw in some fresh herbs or different bitter greens — the list is endless. Plus, it’ll give you something yummy to perfect while you wait for spring to come.
Citrus and Fennel Salad
A mixture of citrus. We used 2 grapefruit, a couple navel oranges and a few tangerines, but you can use whatever catches your eye. You’ll want about 4-7 pieces of fruit depending on size.
2 medium or 3 small fennel bulbs
A couple handfuls of arugula (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons reserved citrus juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
With a sharp paring knife, cut the ends off the citrus. Then, carefully cut the skin and outer white pith away in pieces. You should be able to easily see the membranes that separate the slices of the fruit. Working over a bowl, cut as close as possible to those membranes, carving out the individual segments of fruit. Squeeze what’s left of the membranes over another bowl to extract the juices.
Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Put down a bed of arugula if using. Thinly slice the fennel bulbs, reserving a few fronds if possible, and lay over the arugula (or as a first layer on the plate if you’re skipping the greens). Lay the citrus segments over the fennel and pour dressing over top and gently toss the salad. Garnish with the fennel fronds if you have them and serve right away.