Do you ever take on a kitchen project that is seemingly straightforward, maybe a little curve here and there, but nothing you can’t handle and BAM! It all crashes and burns and you’re standing there covered in sticky frosting and hot pink cake scraps and you need a nap and maybe a drink to get over it? No? Just me? Okay.
Well, recipe disasters like that happen to me a lot. All the time, actually. To get over them–if a nap and a drink can’t happen–and come to peace with my kitchen once again, I like to make something pretty and fresh and totally not scary. Enter the salad. I mean, it doesn’t take much for a salad to be a beauty–tossing some pretty garnishes on top always works and I find it’s the perfect canvas for adding color and texture and brightness, too. And, everyone knows that crisp and crunchy things help us chew the sting of failure away…right? Plus, I’m pretty sure pomegranate arils are the sprinkles of the salad world. They’re basically gems you can eat.
Fennel + Arugula + Oranges + Pomegranate + a little Red Onion + Spicy Honey-Orange Vinaigrette – FrostingAndPinkCakeScraps = YAY!
I’m really good at math, guys. I mean, that’s a super long word problem and I totally nailed it. We CAN reset our frosting covered emotions, throw in a little health for good measure, and get back to cake-making tomorrow.
P.S. If you sub maple for the honey in the vinaigrette, this salad can be totally vegan! If you want to go in the opposite direction, add some cheese–chèvre or even a blue cheese would be excellent. This salad is totally adaptable and casual that way.
Fennel, Orange, and Pomegranate Salad with Spicy Orange-Honey Vinaigrette
I love supremed citrus fruits because I’m a weirdo and am into fussy tasks like that, if you can’t be bothered, no worries! Just segment or slice the oranges however you like.
1 bulb of fennel
2 cups arugula
1/4 of a small red onion
2 oranges, supremed, juice reserved
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
for the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons finely minced red onion (or shallot if you have one)
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons of the reserved orange juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Cut the top–long stalk and fronds (reserve the fronds for garnishing)–of the fennel bulb off, slice in half, remove the outer layer and discard. Cut out the core at the base of the fennel and slice the fennel as thinly as possible–I use a mandolin for this task while being very careful about watching my fingers. Toss the shaved fennel into a bowl with the arugula. Slice the red onion thinly either with a knife or mandolin and toss with the fennel and arugula. Arrange the orange segments over the top of the salad and sprinkle the pomegranate arils and any reserved fennel fronds over the top.
In a jar with a tight fitting lid combine all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Fasten the lid and shake well until combined. Taste for seasoning–it should be pleasantly salty, tart, a little sweet, and a bit spicy. Adjust for your taste. Dress the salad just before serving.