Early Spring and I’m craving salad again. This simple salad pairs crisp garden fresh salad leaves with the last of the winter season’s fennel, blood oranges and pistachio nuts. So very easy to throw together. At just 189 calories per serve it was today’s perfect fast day lunch. In truth I’d forgotten how satisfying a well made salad can be, and how long it can take to crunch through a whole plate, tricking my mind into thinking I am devouring a much bigger meal. Delicious on it’s own or accompanied with a little grilled fish or poached chicken for a more substantial offering.
A Crisp Green Salad With Fennel, Pistachio and Blood Orange
Serves 2 (189 Calories Per Serve)
3 cups mixed salad leaves, (I used butter lettuce, red oak lettuce and wild rocket) (27 calories)
1 small fennel bulb (33 calories)
1 medium blood orange (70 calories)
1 tablespoon pistachio nuts (45 calories)
For The Dressing
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (4 calories)
1 small shallot, finely minced (7 calories)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (180 calories)
1 tablespoon white balsamic dressing (12 calories)
reserved juice fro segmented blood orange (above)
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
DRY ROAST the pistachios by placing them in a frypan over medium heat for a couple minutes until fragrant. Remove immediately to a plate and when cool chop coarsely. Set aside.
USE a small, sharp knife to cut the peel from the orange, making sure to remove all the white pith. Holding the orange over a bowl to catch any juice, cut on either side of each segment, removing wedges of flesh but leaving the membranes. Place the wedges in a small bowl, and set aside. Reserve the juice to add to the dressing.
TRIM and halve the fennel bulb, then slice as finely as you can using a very sharp knife, vegetable peeler or mandolin. If preparing ahead and not using immediately, squeeze over a little lemon juice, or immerse in acidulated water to prevent the fennel from browning. Remember to drain and dry thoroughly before adding to the salad.
PLACE all the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a good pinch of sea salt and liberal grinding of pepper. Shake well to emulsify.
COMBINE the shaved fennel with the salad leaves in a large bowl. Drizzle over three quarters of the dressing, then toss gently to combine. Season to taste with sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper.
ARRANGE the dressed fennel and salad leaves on a serving platter.
SCATTER over blood orange segments and dry roasted pistachio, then drizzle over a little more dressing to serve.