Spring Fennel Salad

It may only be February 21, but it feels like Spring!
Colorado has enjoyed a week or two of 60º weather, melting snow piles, and plenty of sun. It's time for salads! This salad has a surprisingly lovely combination of flavors.

Fennel bulbs have a slightly sweet, gentle anise flavor. As I sliced the bulb, my kids asked "what is that sweet-minty fresh smell?" It pairs beautifully with orange or grapefruit.

Spring Fennel Salad
1 fennel bulb, white part sliced thinly.
~2T reserved feathery frond-like green leaves from the top of the anise bulb, chopped
1 navel orange,  supremed
2 scallions, sliced thinly

2t miso
1 t. maple syrup
1 T olive oil
1 T rice vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Slice the fennel bulb and scallion thinly. Place in serving bowl. Supreme orange and place segments in bowl -- squeeze remaining juice from membrane into bowl and discard membrane.

Combine the next dressing ingredients and toss into salad.

How do you "Supreme" an orange, you say? Supremed oranges are pure orange goodness with no bitter pith or chewy membranes. You may have savored them in salads at finer restaurants. I like to use a small serrated knife -- a "tomato knife." Cut off both ends of the orange so you see a full "star" of orange fruit. Cut the skin and pith (white bitter part) off the orange fruit. Once you've exposed the membrane lines, simply slice along the edge of the membrane to release each orange wedge. It takes a bit of practice, but it will eventually only takes about 3 minutes per orange. It's a pretty, impressive way to serve a citrus salad!

This miso dressing is from my Late Fall Harvest Salad. It's rich and versatile.

Enjoy spring (whenever it may come your way)!