Today’s featured holiday recipe is our Sicilian Christmas Salad, featuring oranges, fresh fennel, mint, red onions, green olives and extra-virgin olive oil. If blood oranges and/or the lighter pink cara cara oranges are also available, we’ll layer them in, too.
This is a salad that can be enjoyed throughout the citrus season, but is especially festive at the holidays, when the variety of oranges is usually at its peak. We have served this salad on our Christmas Eve buffet for the past ten years, and it is always a hit. Enjoy!
Serves: 4 to 6
4 large oranges, peels removed and sliced into rounds
If available, use half Blood oranges, half Navel – Cara Cara oranges may also be used
1 bulb of fennel, cut julienne style
1 medium red onion, cut into thin slices
1 cup green Italian or Greek olives, pitted if available
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (use best quality you can find)
2-3 small bunches fresh mint, cut Chiffonade style
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the top and bottom off of each orange, then stand the orange up on a cutting board. Use a serrated or very sharp knife to remove the peel by gently cutting down the length of the orange, making sure to follow the curve of the orange. Leave no white pulp on the fruit.
Once the peel and pulp have been removed, lay the orange lengthwise on the cutting board, and cut into round slices, about ¼-inch thick.
To prepare the fennel, cut the stalk off and use only the bulb. Cut off the base of the bulb and peel the outer layers. Cut the fennel bulb lengthwise into ¼ inch strips.
On a serving plate or individual plates, begin by layering the orange rounds, alternating between the red and orange slices, then evenly distribute the fennel, red onion, and mint. Randomly place the green olives around the salad for added color. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the entire salad. Serve and enjoy!
Tony’s Tip: You can prepare the orange rounds a day in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.