Sunday, February 21, 2010

a winter salad

A week indoors, sitting fireside and watching the white-washed landscape for any little change - the re-appearance of a driveway, let's say, allows for plenty of time to make a grocery list.
And when one finally returns to that much-missed produce aisle - well, that grocery list suddenly seems laughably inadequate.
Even in deep winter, without the lure of sun-ripened tomatoes or blush-colored peaches, there is a jubilation in seeing fresh greens, perfect oranges, or the wispy fronds that top the crisp white fennel bulbs. The basket fills with all of the above and more - already satisfying a deep hunger, a real craving, for something more than sustenance - we need nourishment.
A cool, crisp salad always feels regenerative, and this salad, in particular, incites a reawakening, crunching under tooth like those first ice-crusted snowy steps out the door.

A Winter Salad

1/2 a bulb of fennel, a few fronds reserved
1 stalk celery
2 radishes
juice of 1/4 lemon
drizzle of olive oil
1 blood orange
a scattering of parsley leaves
a pinch of good sea salt
freshly ground pepper
a few slivers of shaved Parmesan

Using the very thinnest setting of a mandoline, slice the fennel, celery and radishes into a medium bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and a good drizzle of olive oil. Slice the top and bottom from the blood orange, and following the curve of the fruit, slice away the remaining pith and peel. Using a very sharp paring knife, liberate the segments by making a cut alongside each membrane that separates the segments. Add the orange segments to the salad along with the reserved fennel fronds and parsley leaves. Season with a pinch of salt and some fresh pepper. Divide the salad between to plates and top each serving with a few slivers of the Parmesan.


emma wallace said...

Oh, that looks so refreshing!

Through My Kitchen Window said...

Your salad looks so crisp and so fresh that it may well leap off the plate. Gorgeous.
Chelsea your writing is very good. You convey what you feel so well. I wish I could write this well. So evocative. Tar for posting.

Chelsea said...

Thanks, Emma - it is refreshing - yes; quite invigorating. It's really a great little winter salad - it's that shot in the arm we need after such a *wintry* winter...

It's funny, Mariana, but I'm at a loss for words big enough to contain my thanks for your compliments. They really make me feel warm and I'm so happy to know you're reading.
I find your writing very evocative indeed - I always like hearing about what's going on in your world, so far from mine...

molly said...

Oh, how I love a crisp fennel salad! Refreshing and rejuvenating, especially right now.

Chelsea said...

Molly, I think your cabbage salad kicked of the craving for a fresh, crunchy winter salad. Rejuvenating - absolutely!