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 Elle Draper

Fennel and orange salad

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If there’s one thing that goes perfectly with a beautifully pan fried fish fillet, it’s fennel and orange salad. It is one of those salads I kept seeing on cookery shows but never tried – until this week. It’s now a firm favourite.

Fennel and orange salad

The flavours go extremely well together, and during these hot, sweaty, summer months… salad makes a lighter accompaniment to fish than potatoes. The orange-y freshness marries extremely well with the gentle aniseed of the fennel bulb.

There are obviously going to be a million variations – but at the core of this dish are two main ingredients – yes the clue is in the name!

Do not make this salad until the last moment. It only takes a minute or two to prepare – so I did ours while the fish was cooking. But you know how quickly you chop and juice – so if you want to do it just before, that’s fine too.

Ingredients – serves 2 or 3 as a salad for a main meal

  • 1 medium to large fennel bulb
  • 2 large oranges


  • Remove any brown leaves from the fennel bulb
  • Slice the white part into a bowl really finely – a mandolin is perfect for this, although a sharp knife will do. Or use a coarse grater. Some people just chop it. Up to you.
  • Do not discard the green fern-like fronds
  • Grate a small amount of orange peel. It’s only for decoration so you only need half a teaspoon or so. Be careful not to grate the pith (or as I called it as a child, “sexy peel”), because that is a little bitter.
  • Now cut segments from that orange – try to make sure that they are segments only. No poeel or pith.
  • Juice the other orange – get as much as you can out of it.
  • Add the juice to the fennel and toss it well
  • Toss in the orange segments too
  • Arrange on plates if you like – or leave in the bowl for people to help themselves.
  • Pull the fern fronds from their stalks and arrange on top. This is primarily for decor, but they do add a lovely hit of extra aniseed.
  • Sprinkle the grated orange peel too
  • Serve immediately with a beautifully pan fried fish fillet or two

Spain Buddy tips

Although we’ve suggested fish – this salad also goes really well with many other items too. Try…

  • Grilled prawns
  • Chicken
  • Skewered pork
  • Seared tuna
  • Poached or seared salmon

Keep the flavours you mix it with gentle – ensuring that the salad is the main flavour of your dish. But the following flavours mix in really well with that salad too!

  • Fresh mint
  • Grated carrot
  • Fresh garden peas
  • A pinch or two of fennel seeds
  • Flaked almonds (even better when toasted)


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