I was inspired by somewhere on the internets to mix up my usual fennel-orange salad (a North African classic) with some dates and pecans. Sadly, I really thought the dates, sticky and very sweet, ruined the fresh bright citrus and anise flavors of the salad. It helps that Algerians are serious citrus growing champions, and so the oranges and clementines here are very sweet on their own. So you should make it without the dates, but the pictures were too pretty not too share.
Fennel Orange Salad
This goes very nicely with fish. If you want to mix it up, you can add a drop of orange blossom water to the salad, or some black olives. Serves 2 as a side dish.
2 medium-sized fennel bulbs
2 navel oranges, or 4-5 clementines, or another sweet citrus variety
a squeeze of lemon juice
a dash of olive oil
salt, to taste
1. Trim away the thick core on the bottom of the fennel bulbs. Slice the fennel very thinly on a mandoline. Add the fennel slices to a bowl and add some lemon juice, olive oil and salt and toss to coat. Reserve some of the fennel fronds for garnish. (I keep the fennel stems for soup and stock.)
2. For the navel oranges, I like to supreme them, but the clementines I usually peel and then cut into slices. The slices, even for regular oranges, are more common and easier. Prepare the citrus fruit as desired, discarding any seeds. Add your citrus slices to the bowl, season with a bit more salt, and gently toss with your hands to combine. Chop the reserved fennel fronds and toss on top before serving.