winter salad of fennel, orange and hazelnut

this is the kind of salad that i actually reserve for the colder months. there’s the citrus, which makes me think of the holidays(!), and the boldness of crunchy fennel and whole parsley leaves that makes me take it seriously. because who wants a wimpy salad in winter? you need something a little richer right now, like something spiked with hazelnut oil and red wine vinegar. a salad that with a chunk of baguette–and a glass of wine–equals dinner.

sliced orange

especially when you add a little more fat…

toasting hazelnuts

…in the way of healthy, chopped hazelnuts. ok fine, and cheese. i’ll leave it up to you to decide exactly how much.

winter salad, bread

Winter Salad of Fennel, Orange and Hazelnut

YS note: I wash the orange because I find it easiest to get thin, intact slices by slicing with the peel on. The peel seems to slip off the slices easier than when peeling whole too.

1 large orange, whole, washed and patted dry
2 tbs hazelnut oil
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 small fennel bulb, peeled, cored and sliced thinly, crosswise (about 3 cups)
2 c parsley leaves, picked whole from stems
1/4 c (scant) hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Comte or other hard, nutty cheese (Grana Padano or Parmesan would be fine)

Cut 6-8 thin slices, crosswise, from the orange. Then carefully remove the peel and any pith from the outside and centre. Juice the remaining orange for the dressing.

Whisk the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and 1 tbs of the orange juice together. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Toss the fennel and parsley in the dressing and arrange in a serving bowl or plate. Layer the peeled orange slices on top. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and shave some of the cheese over top. Drizzle with any remaining dressing and serve.

Makes 2 large servings or 4 small servings.