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
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.