Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fennel and Orange Slaw with Mint

We ate at the Chinese Restaurant last week, and they had a Cambodian coleslaw type salad on the buffet.  It had leaves of mint in it, and was surprisingly delicious.  I had never thought to pair cabbage with mint before.
We have been eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables lately.  We adore fennel, and when we can get good fresh fennel, we buy it up to make poached fish, or to put into soups.
If you have never had fresh fennel bulb, you are in for a treat.  It is similar to celery in texture, but has a mild licorice flavor to it.  It is great fresh, or roasted, or in soups.  The fronds are pretty, and although I doubt that they add much in the way of nutrition, I always chop up a few and add them in any fennel dish.
We are avid participators in the Bountiful Basket program.  It is a volunteer food cooperative, and offers fresh food at low prices.  We just got our Bountiful Basket for the week, so I needed to make room for all the new fresh goodies that came in our basket, I scoured through my full bins for things to use up, and this is the salad that was created, in honor of that delicious Cambodian slaw.

Fennel and Orange Slaw

3 fennel bulbs, cored and sliced thinly
3 oranges, royaled*
1 English cucumber sliced
1/4 C fresh mint leaves
reserved orange juice
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
fennel fronds for garnish

Cut the fronds and core end off of the fennel bulb, and cut it in half lengthwise.  Cut out the tough core, and slice in half moon shaped thin slices, and place in a large salad bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  This is great served with roasted pork, or would be an awesome picnic salad.  It's very fresh, and low calorie.
*A royaled orange:  Cut both ends off of an unpeeled orange.  Then standing the orange on the cut surface, you can remove the peel and pith from the orange.  With a paring knife, cut the orange slices out keeping close to the membranes.  When all the slices are liberated, squeeze the orange juice out of the orange "guts" and into a bowl to use for the dressing.
Royaling fruit is a great method.  I use it to add citrus to salads. If the citrus in my fruit bowl on the kitchen table starts to look a little soft, I will royal all the fruit, and put it and the juice into a canning jars to put in the fridge.  It's amazing how quickly that cold fruit gets used up once I do that!

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