Sunday, June 15, 2008

Orange and Fennel Salad

Orange and Fennel Salad 5

While rooting around my fridge recently, I came across a small bag that had lain forgotten. It was leftover from my dad's last visit, when I had unpacked his carry-ons. My mom had packed him some food for the plane. When I picked him up, dad said he wasn't hungry, that he had eaten some apples. What remained was an orange (Texas because my mom likes their sweetness.) and two small packets of sesame cookies. Notice that my mom had cut off the ends of the orange for him, and scored the sides for easy peeling?

Orange and Fennel Salad 2

I also had a lovely fennel bulb I picked up at the farmers' market - Alhambra.

Orange and Fennel Salad 3

Ever notice how the bulb part of the fennel looks like a heart? Not the symmetrical kind, but a human heart with aortas or valves or whatever the stems would be?

Orange and Fennel Salad 4

I love eating fennel raw with its licorice bite. This salad is wonderfully cleansing as the beginning of a meal, or to end one. If you have a mandolin, you can slice the fennel bulb much more thinly than I did. You can save the stems to cook since they lose their licorice bite that way. They taste like, and have the same crunch, as celery.

Orange and Fennel Salad

You'll need:
1 orange, peeled and sliced thinly
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly

For the dressing, you'll need:
A few drizzles of olive oil
A few drizzles of vinegar
A few dashes of salt
A few dashes of freshly ground black pepper

Peel the orange and slice thinly, keeping it in a circle. Layer a salad plate with the orange. Remove dirty outer layers of fennel bulb and slice thinly. Layer in the middle of the salad.

In a separate bowl, mix a few drizzles of olive oil and vinegar and a few dashes of salt and black pepper. Drizzle over salad.


The arrangement of the oranges rather looks like a flower doesn't it?

Orange and Fennel Salad 1

Which brings me to a story that comes from lil' sis since I was no longer living at home. Growing up, my dad worked 7 days a week. He rarely took a day off work and only stayed home when he was very, very ill. One of those downsides of owning his own business. Once he was very sick but went to work anyway. Daddy would have to take frequent breaks by going out to the car to lay down and then returning back to work. He's learned to take it a little easier now as he's gotten older. So when lil' sis was in high school, she remembered a day when my dad stayed home. He cut some roses from the garden and placed them in a vase for my mom. Now, my dad is an avid fisherman and hunter, he doesn't really do flowers. Lil' sis later asked my mom about them, and she said they were the straggliest roses she'd ever seen.

My dad may not be the most romantic guy, but he's always been very sweet. My mom said she fell in love with him because of his gentleness.

Heck, he even suffers through the Women's Entertainment Network movies with my mom. Once we were watching "Somewhere in Time." You know, that cult classic where Christopher Reeve traveled back in time so he could fall in love with a young Jane Seymour. And then when he was jolted into the future, willed himself to death because he couldn't live without her. My dad watched almost the entire movie with a confused look on his face. Finally, near the end, my dad shouted out, "Oh! It's like "Back to the Future!""

He doesn't always get it, but we love him dearly for trying. That's why we're such daddy's girls.

Happy Father's Day!

1 year ago today, oregano and how to dry herbs.


  1. Your mom fixing that orange for you dad is the sweetest thing ever!

  2. Awwww...your parents must be really cute together!

  3. Awww..your mum is so thoughtful!

    I have not tried fennel before although I do use fennel powder a lot. Fennel seeds obviously must be from this plant also right?

  4. What a lovely story about your dad, WC. His gentleness and thoughtfulness will always be remembered by his girls.

  5. Your dad sounds like such a sweetheart. And I loved the way your mom cut and scored the peel for your dad - so attentive!

    I love orange and fennel salad. I'm surprised Vietnamese don't eat more of it - as it smells so much like thai basil and anise.

  6. One thing I like about food blogs is I see and learn more about the names of vegetables, way of cutting and all those that a home cook wouldn't normally learn from the refrigerator =D Thanks, I learned about Fennel today.

    Btw, you are invited to join the Food for Which My City/Town is Known For Listing. See you!

  7. HAHA! I burst out laughing when I read what you wrote about "cans" on my blog!

    Seriously - you are my "cooking hero" and I love that you use fresh ingredients as much as you can...

    Thanks for providing all these scrumptious recipes - you have me interested in fennel, now, just to see if I like it.

    Have a great day!

  8. Pam,
    I think so too. :)

    They are.

    Yes, fennel seeds are from the same plant but they taste very different. Like coriander seeds and the plant are different.

    That's why lil' sis and I are such daddy's girls. :)

    I don't see raw fennel in anything VNese. I think the taste is a tad too sharp?

    You're welcome. Hmm. I'm not sure what my town is known for. Will have to think on it.

    I'm glad I'm encouraging you to try new foods. :)

  9. I love fennel, and with orange, it would be so fresh and light. I love the story of your parents. I would fall in love with a guy for his gentleness too.

  10. Vegeyum,
    Thanks! I think my parents are pretty sweet. :)

  11. that is such a sweet sweet story! and the way your mom prepares the orange is exactly how my grandmother taught me to do it. it's so convenient!

    i'm an avid fan of fennel, even tho, technically i've only had it once. for some reason i'm not a fan of oranges but i do like grapefruit, i would use that instead. either way, i'm a fennel fan for life! :)

  12. Lan,
    My parents can actually be pretty cute! I loove fennel. Pickled fennel is next for me!


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