If you are scared of fennel and/or believe you do not like it – try this recipe! It will bring you round to the absolutely gorgeous fresh and crunchy taste that is fennel and you will never look back!
A few words about fennel, if nothing else than to broaden the mind and make you appreciate this little, fat, white bulb!
- Fennel is widely cultivated for its edible, strongly flavoured leaves and fruits and its aniseed flavour comes from anethol, an aromatic compound also found in star anise. Its taste and aroma is therefore similar to this, though not as strong.
- Health benefits of fennel include relief from anemia, indigestion, wind, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders and menstrual disorders.
- Using fennel in food helps protect eyes from inflammation this due to the presence of both ani oxidants and vitamin C which are both very beneficial for the rejuvenation of tissues and prevention of aging – read more about vitamin C here and anti oxidants here).
- If you suffer from indigestion, or bad breath (or both!), try chewing fennel seeds after your meal – this is apparently common in India.
I have used a few recipes as inspiration (telegraph, bbc, woman’s hour website) but combined my own favourite bits to make this a really stunning starter, a quick lunch or even an afternoon bite of food (if you are going to be having a late dinner maybe?)
The best thing about the recipe is the seasonality of it – it is a real winter salad with oranges being at their best at the moment, and fennel readily available. Furthermore the children love the sweet crunch – and it looks beautiful with the emerald pomegranate seeds scattered around. It is bright and fresh, in taste and colour, and will bring a smile to your face.
Fennel, Orange and Pomegranate Salad1 fennel bulb – medium – washed, centre removed 2 oranges Seeds of 1/2 a pomegranate Lump of feta cheese 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 1 tsp runny honey (fresh chilli is a lovely addition as are a few fresh mint sprigs)
- Wash the fennel bulb and core it – this is easily done by cutting the bulb in half and removing core as you would that of an apple
- Slice the fennel thinly – julienne style strips – and throw them in a bowl
- Peel the oranges with a knife removing all of the white pith. Cut in between the membranes to release each small section of orange – do this over the fennel bowl so as to catch the juices as they drip
- Break the feta into small pieces and throw into the fennel bowl
- Clean and prepare the pomegranate seeds (read more here) and add to the bowl
- In a jar combine the olive oil lemon juice, red wine vinegar and honey and shake – pour this dressing over the salad and toss gently
- Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled – if you want to, add the mint for presentation and flavour and the chilli for an extra kick! It is lovely on its own but also gorgeous with fish or meat.