Raw Salad of Fennel, Seville Orange, Chicory and Kohlrabi
It’s a new year and after lavish celebrations for both Christmas and New Year, it’s time to think twice about what I put on my dinner plate.
This raw salad of fennel, Seville orange and kohlrabi is the perfect dish for a more considerate new year. It’s highly fragrant, superbly fresh and crunchy. I enjoy this delicious side dish with poached salmon or lightly smoked haddock. It also goes very well with char-grilled chicken as the Seville orange vinaigrette brings a delicious freshness to the whole dish.
I’m sure I could hear a few moans when you read the title and saw that I have used chicory. Chicory is another one of those love or loathe ingredients but I must be honest, I have never found chicory to be delicious and had to fight really hard with my taste buds to learn to love the taste. I find chicory incredibly bitter, but I have one really fond memory of cooking with chicory. This was when I worked in the restaurants and we used to braise chicory in Grand Marnier and orange juice to go with an incredibly rich but super delicious duck dish. I could easily eat a whole chicory cooked like this on it’s own.Well the complete truth is that we cut the chicory in half, dipped them in icing sugar before cooking them in butter until golden brown. We then deglazed the pan with Grand Marnier and orange juice, added a little chicken stock and braised them slowly until tender, now you may understand the deliciousness?
It was a complete coincidence that I bought the chicory from the shop but I then made this recipe which was delicious. Then after eating this raw salad as part of my supper, I watched a programme about how they grow chicory commercially. I was absolutely stunned as I wasn’t aware that chicory is also known as endive or witloof and grows just like rhubarb, in the dark, indoors. Well some of you might have already known that but I found it amazing and I am quite proud that I have learned something new. In the UK Jack Buck Farms in Spalding grows chicory with a lot of care and they grow both the white and red varieties. I did not realise that one should always store chicory in the dark to retain their natural sweetness and they should be kept wrapped up in newspaper.
The Seville Orange vinaigrette is absolutely delicious. The Seville Orange season is short and lasts just from December to February. You can also use ordinary oranges to make this vinaigrette. This vinaigrette is another one of those easy British Larder recipes, I place all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a clean glass jar, secure the lid and shake it vigorously to emulsify all the ingredients. Keep the leftover Seville Orange vinaigrette refrigerated in the glass jar.
Seville Orange Vinaigrette
- 25ml freshly squeezed Seville Orange juice
- 2tsp Dijon mustard
- 2tsp white wine vinegar
- 2tsp runny honey
- 25ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Place the freshly squeezed orange juice , olive oil, mustard, honey and seasoning into a small clean jar with a tight fitting lid.
Shake the jar vigorously to emulsify all the ingredients to form this delicious and vibrant vinaigrette, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Keep the vinaigrette refrigerated in the jar until needed.
Fennel, Seville Orange, Chicory and Kohlrabi Salad
- 1 bulb of fennel
- 1 bulb of Kohlrabi
- 1tbs chopped fresh dill
- Zest and segments of one Seville Orange
- 2 small heads of white chicory
- Tahoon or Mustard Cress (optional)
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Wash the fennel bulb, remove the outer layer and use a sharp mandolin to finely slice/shave the fennel into a large mixing bowl.
Peel the kohlrabi and finely slice using the mandolin, then finely julienne by using a sharp knife, the finer the julienne the tastier the salad, add the julienned kohlrabi to the fennel.
Wash the chicory, remove the root end and separate the leaves, add the chicory to the fennel mixture, add the orange zest, orange segments and chopped dill and season to taste.
Add the Seville orange vinaigrette to taste when you are ready to serve, mix well and serve immediately and garnish the salad with the tahoon or mustard cress.
Food Fanatics Tips
The raw salad undressed will last well and crisp in the fridge, prepare the salad and vinaigrette but do not add the vinaigrette until just before your ready to serve the dish. I keep the undressed raw salad for up to two days in the fridge covered with damp kitchen paper in an air tight container, it's amazing how crisp and well it keeps.
If you cannot find kohlrabi in the supermarket or at your local farmers market then I suggest you use turnips. Read below to find out why turnips.
What is Kohlrabi? Kohlrabi is one of the brassica families (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes), it's a cross between cabbage and turnips. The taste is subtle, slightly sweet with a slight hint of broccoli. I prefer to eat it raw however it's delicious when braised with Port wine and chicken stock. It's one of the most used vegetables in Kashmir so I think next time I get my hands on another kohlrabi, I will braise it with sultanas, garam masala, coconut milk and flaked almonds...mmm does sound seriously good!