Follow

Meat Free Week Info

Meat Free Week challenges participants to give up meat for seven days and raise funds for a great cause.
Are you up for the challenge? Register today and help make real change happen.

Oranges are at their best during the winter “ juicy , zesty and sweet. Combined with raw fennel with its aniseed notes and crunchy freshness and some chilli for heat, they make a vibrant starter. We often make this simple salad as a first course for Christmas Day lunch to enliven and refresh our taste buds before the main course, which is inevitably rich with meat or roasted birds of one sort or another. If you can get it, the new seasons extra-virgin olive oil, which is pressed during November, is delicious. Its fiery pepperiness adds a little heat to the other ingredients.

+ Ingredients

2 navel or blood oranges, peeled and all pith removed
2 firm bulbs of fennel, any damaged, soft or discoloured outer leaves removed
½ lemon
2 small dried red chillies
A handful of rocket leaves, washed and dried
100g freshly shaved parmesan slivers*
2tbsp good-quality extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and crushed black pepper

+ Method

Using a sharp knife cut the oranges crossways into 5mm slices and remove any pips. Cut off the feathery fronds from the top of the fennel bulbs and chop roughly. Carefully slice off the base of the bulb. Slice the bulb in half lengthways, then cut into fine slices, about 2-3mm thick and put into a bowl of iced water with a squeeze of lemon.

Dry the fennel on clean tea towels or in a salad dryer, then place on a flattish serving dish. Distribute the sluices of orange evenly over the dish. I like to tumble them in a hurly burly sort of way so it is not all flat and lifeless. Crush the chillies and sprinkle over the oranges and fennel with the fronds. You may want to check the heat first, as one chilli can be very different from another. Season with salt and pepper, add a few leaves of rocket, the parmesan slivers and drizzle over some extra-virgin oil, then serve.

Serves 4

Photography copyright Laura Edwards.

* Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano is made with animal rennet (derived from the stomach of slaughtered calves). We suggest using a ˜parmesan style hard cheese or look for a suitable variation such as a dairy free or soy parmesan.