Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Satsuma & Fennel Salad

One of my biggest indulgences is food blogs. I love learning new recipes and drooling over the gorgeous pictures. When a friend introduced me to Cannelle et Vanille, it was like hitting the motherload of all foodie indulgences. A few days ago she posted a blood orange and fennel salad that looked so good, I was severely tempted to run to the grocery store to buy all the ingredients even though I had just returned from the grocery store only an hour earlier. So today, on my way home from teaching I decided to hit the store to pick up what I would need.

Here's the thing--food blogging and my small little town of Charlottesville don't always go together. In the summer Charlottesville is awash in heirloom tomatoes and a staggering variety of herbs and greens. In the winter? It's darn near a wasteland unless you can afford the prices of places like Harris Teeter and Whole Foods. As a grad student, I cannot. Those gorgeous multicolored carrots food bloggers commonly feature? They're $4.99 for a half dozen. Those beautiful candy cane beets? $3.49 for three itty bitty ones. As I began to look around for the gorgeous ingredients featured on Cannelle et Vanille, I quickly became deflated. There were no blood oranges. Watercress was $5.99 per bunch. Fennel was $3.49 per bulb. Yellow string beans? $4.79. Even if I could find all of the ingredients I needed, I was well on my way to creating a $40 salad.

So I substituted. Satsuma (already in my fridge) instead of blood oranges. On sale blackberries for some tartness. Regular green beans (which I blanched) instead of yellow ones. Mixed baby greens for watercress. While I'll still look at the original blood orange salad with some envy, I'm pretty pleased with how my version came out. Tart, but not sour. Colorful but not too many flavors going on to be distracting.

For the Salad:
Shaved fennel
black rice
sliced radish
mixed baby greens
blanched green beans

For the dressing:
juice of one satsuma
juice of 1/4 of a lemon
olive oil
a teaspoon of plain greek yogurt
salt & pepper (I used the salt and pepper with wild flowers for mine)

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