Although I often associate fennel and apples with the colder months, this salad is so light and bright that it can also pull off summer time for me. And for being a salad, it's pretty resilient in that it doesn't have to be served immediately after being made. It's almost equal parts arugula to crunchy, more substantial things, so it seems to get even better as it sits for an hour or so in the fridge before serving.
I absolutely love the depth of flavor in this salad, especially the impact of the fresh orange juice and zest throughout. All of the bright citrus from the orange and lime help keep things crisp. And the peppery arugula lends itself well to a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper on top.
It's a great lunch salad, but would make for the tastiest accompaniment to fish (I'm thinking halibut or salmon) or hearty pan roasted pork chops.
Bright citrus fennel salad
Serves 4-6 as a side
Juice from 1/2 naval orange
2 T champagne vinegar
1 T lime juice
3 T olive oil
1/4 tsp salt or more to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
3 cups packed arugula
1 cup thinly sliced red onion half moons or quarter moons
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, cut in half, core removed, and thinly sliced horizontally from the bottom (just cut any large pieces into bite sized slices)
1 T chopped fennel fronds
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Zest of half an orange
Zest of a lime
In a mason jar or small bowl, combine orange juice, vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake or whisk to combine. In a large bowl, combine arugula, red onion, apple, and fennel. Toss with dressing. Sprinkle in fennel fronds and cilantro, and top with orange and lime zest (and a little extra salt and freshly cracked black pepper). Serve right away, or store in fridge for up to an hour and then serve.