When I began to get serious about starting a blog, I invited several girlfriends (the “girlbros” as we so affectionately call one another) over to help me brainstorm about name ideas and goals for the blog that matched my personal values. In exchange, I promised to feed them dinner. Of course, that dinner needed to be fairly easy to assemble and serve, but I also wanted it to feel fancy and special. This salad is beautiful, refreshing, and perfectly bridges the transition from winter to spring. There’s the spicy licorice bite from the fennel, the sweetness and brightly contrasting color of the oranges, crunch from the hazelnuts, creaminess from the avocado and just enough of a salty and pungent punch from the blue cheese. Serve this to company, or just to yourself, when you want to feel fancy and just a tad sassy. Up the ante with a great bottle of White Bordeaux or Sauvignon Blanc.
- 1 bulb fennel
- 1 endive
- 2 blood oranges, sectioned
- 2 Cara Cara oranges (or regular oranges)
- 1 cup microgreens or pea shoots
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts (toasted, peels removed), chopped
- 1 Avocado
- 3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
- Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Wash fennel bulb and leaves. Separate fronds (leaves) and set aside on a towel to dry. Thinly slice fennel bulb (white part of fennel). Toss sliced bulb with 1/2 cup of dressing and set aside for at least 20 minutes to soften fennel.
Slice endive, rinse, and set aside on towels to drain (or spin in a salad spinner).
If you’re feeling fancy, slice away peel of the four oranges and use knife to cut between membranes to reveal pretty, clean sections. Alternatively, you could just peel oranges and separate into sections with membranes intact. Either way, remove seeds.
Slice open avocado, remove peel and seed, and slice into chunks.
Assemble salad: add sliced endive, microgreens or pea shoots, and orange sections to fennel, toss to combine. Spoon onto serving plate. Top with fennel fronds, hazelnuts, avocado, and blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle additional ¼ to ½ cup blood orange vinaigrette over top, or serve dressing on the side. Serves 6-8 as a side, 4 as a main.