Bitter Sweet Sicilian Salad
I love the combination of orange, fennel and onion in this salad which often take people by surprise, especially when they find how good they taste together. I adapted the recipe from a classic salad I used to eat when I lived in Sicily on student exchange. My year in Sicily was an amazing experience that has influenced my cooking and has stayed with me even after 17 years has passed. Food in Italy is a strong tradition that is a respected and celebrate part of home life. It is generally not outsourced to food chains or takeaway restaurants. The best food I ate there was in the home and believe me it was like eating at a high quality restaurant! It was ALWAYS handmade from scratch. No boxes or jars of meals there! For birthdays and christenings the women would gather together and make fresh pasta, gnocchi or pizza from scratch and for the staples, every year my family would buy the over ripe tomatoes from the passing vendor in his truck and cook up their years supply of ‘salsa rossa’ (red sauce) and they would send in their olives from their patch of land to be pressed into olive oil. Bread was also always crusty and warm, bought fresh from the baker every day. There were barely any supermarkets, as everyone shopped from the small green grocer, baker, butcher or convenience store. While of course it was not paleo or grain free, it was fresh and hand-made. No industry was involved only the home or small business so there were no need for preservatives and the life force was still in the food.
I was in Sicily a couple of years ago and I am pleased to say these traditions were still being followed, although there were some large supermarkets creeping in. I know these days I wouldn’t eat the fresh bread, pizza or pasta but I still firmly believe in this respect for food and the need for it be fresh and as close to nature as possible.
This salad respects these principles as it is fresh and simple to make with no grains in sight. It is great as an appetizer, as a side dish to roast chicken, pan-fried salmon or veal schnitzel or as a light meal with some avocado and shredded chicken or tinned tuna. I’d be interested in knowing how you find the flavours or maybe you have your own combination of fruit in a savoury dish? As always you can leave a comment in the comments section below.
In good health. xx
3 navel oranges, segmented and juice squeezed from pulp into a bowl
200g baby english spinach, washed and dried
2 small bulbs of fennel, cut in half, core removed and thinly sliced
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Red wine vinegar
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
Celtic Sea Salt to taste
1. Combine orange segments, orange juice and onion in a bowl and leave for 10 minutes. You want the onion to soak in th juice to take some of the strong onion taste away.
2. Combine spinach and fennel in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.
3. Just before serving pour onion and orange mixture over the spinach and fennel and toss to combine.
4. Pour oil over salad and toss to combine.
5. Pour the vinegar over the salad and a sprinkle of salt and toss to combine.
6. Serve immediately
- Sweet Balsamic Fennel and Quinoa Salad Recipe (greenerideal.com)
- Top 10 dishes you shouldn’t miss when you go to Sicily (tuttomichele.wordpress.com)
- Sicilian street salad (baconisaveg.wordpress.com)