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Citrus, Fennel and Chicories Salad

Yield:  4 servings

Dressing

  • grated zest from 1 orange
  • 1 Tbs. finely minced shallot
  • 1/2 tsp. Colemans or Chinese dry mustard
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad

  • 1-2 heads chicory (a mix of frisee, pan di zuccharo, castelfranco, radiccio, etc.)
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 2 oranges or blood oranges
  • 2 tangerines
  • 1 bulb young, tender fennel
  • A few sprigs fresh mint (optional)

Start the dressing first: combine the zest, minced shallot, mustard, vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper in a bowl. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, while you prepare the fruit (see below). Then, add the juice captured from cutting the fruit, and whisk in the oil. Taste, adjust seasonings as needed. Sherry vinegar is quite tart, and lemons vary, so you may need a bit of extra vinegar, juice or oil to have a balanced dressing. This recipe makes enough for twice the salad amount; refrigerate extra for future use.

Carefully wash and dry the chicory leaves, and tear or shred if too sturdy to tear. Place in a salad bowl.

Completely peel the grapefruit and oranges:  first slice off the top and bottom, then stand the fruit on the cutting board and pare away the skin and pith in broad swaths. Slice or segment the oranges, and segment the grapefruit (do this over a bowl, to catch the juice for the dressing). Peel and slice the tangerines into rounds, through the sections.

Wash the fennel, trim off any brown spots and surfaces. Using the stalks as a handle, thinly shave the fennel bulbs on a mandoline, being very careful of your fingers; if you don’t have a mandolin, simply slice as thinly as possible with a sharp knife. Add the fennel to the chicories.

Just before serving, toss the salad with some of the dressing, to taste, and garnish with fruit sections. Finish with a light grinding of black pepper from the mill. If you have fresh mint, pick the leaves from their stems, stack the leaves and cut into a chiffonade (thin slivers); use to garnish the salad.

Note: this salad keeps nicely for a day. The texture will change, but the fennel will keep some crunch. It’s also wonderful with avocado added at the last minute.