Inspired by a trip recently to our local Italian Store and an abundance of bright fresh smelling citrus, plus healthier eating, I picked up some ingredients to make this orange and fennel salad with Sicilian olives. Adding olives to the salad was a last minute decision as I browsed the olive section in the deli of the store. Wanting to purchase some olives for munching, a conversation ensued about olives and oranges. The Silician olives were recommended in the salad. I sampled these olives and immediately fell in love. With Sicilian olives.
There is absolutely no Italian in me and so beyond chatting with the ladies in the store, I had never heard about an Italian or Sicilian orange salad before. Citrus fruits are extremely popular in Italy in January and that explained why there was an abundance of oranges in the store.
We host International students and for the most part its a great experience. Not always but some times. One thing we love to learn from the International students we host is about their food. How it’s prepared, what goes into it, what’s common and popular in their culture and more. All the things! For example everyone in North America screams if you cook with olive oil at high temperatures. According to our Spanish student his generations of family have always cooked with Spanish olive oil at high temperatures and never any issues health wise or other. It’s so interesting and I get extremely excited when our students are motivated to cook and share recipes.
Tips: When making this salad use a good extra virgin olive oil and whatever oranges you can find in your market. We used a mandolin to slice our fennel, but if you do not have one it’s perfectly fine. Try to slice the fennel and the red onion as thinly as possible. Fresh basil is a must. If you do not like olives, leave them out or substitute your favourite olives. The Sicilian ones have a hint of spice to them and to replicate this you could sprinkle on a few hot pepper flakes.
There’s many ways to change up this simple recipe so if you try it and add your own spin, let us know in the comments what you did!
- 3 oranges
- 2 mandarin oranges
- 1/4 fennel bulb halved lengthwise, cored, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 6 Sicilian olives
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Fresh ground pepper
- Sea salt
- Fresh basil leaves
- Using a sharp knife, cut and peel the oranges removing the white pith. Peel the mandarins.
- Thinly slice the oranges crosswise, removing any pits.
- Arrange the oranges on a platter and scatter the fennel, red onion and Sicilian olives on top.
- Drizzle with the olive oil, lemon and season with Maldon salt and freshly ground cracked black pepper.
- Garnish with the basil and serve.