Saturday Market Meals

I am not sure if I want to hold myself to this or not, but I will give it a shot. It might provide a good source of much needed discipline as well as inspiration, which is always welcome.

so here goes....every Saturday I will provide a recipe using an organic farmer's market selection as well as a product from the Bella Cucina pantry collection.

Today's selection was an easy one. I love fresh fennel and these tender bulbs were just picked and so beautifully small and tender, I couldn't resist. We planted fennel in our raised beds this year and, although the stalks yielded gorgeous flowing fronds of leafy fennel greens, the bulb never matured. Too overcrowded, I guess. So, the next best way to enjoy this delicate, yet aromatic licoricey vegetable was to find it at the market.

One of my favorite recipes is a simple salad that finds its origins on the Southern Italy island of Sicily. It marries the pungent fennel flavor with sweet citrus blood orange segments,
red torpedo onions, a handful of arugula greens {my addition} and chopped salty bits of black olives. Blood oranges were out of season, so I used valencia oranges and sweet as can be kumquats.
A nice light citrus juice and extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette rounds out the flavors nicely. Serve crusty toasted rounds of crostini slathered with Olivada Olive Pesto and you have a cool and refreshing summer side salad. Add Citrus & Fennel salt rub grilled shrimp, chicken or tuna and you have a main course without ever having to fire up the kitchen.


1 large bulb fresh fennel
1 blood orange, or whatever varietal available in season
8-10 kumquats {optional}
1 Tablespoon thinly sliced small, red torpedo onions
4 pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup arugula greens
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil * {substitute 1 Tablespoon Tangerine oil for olive oil for a richer flavor}
1/4 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper
8- 1/2 inch slices of bread
2 Tablespoons Olive Pesto

Slice fennel into quarters. Remove the core and slice the fennel as thinly as possible {use a sharp knife or mandolin}.
Place in bowl and toss with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice to retain color. Zest the orange into the fennel slices. Slice peel from orange, being careful to remove all the pithy, white membrane. Carefully cut the orange segments from their skins over the bowl and reserve the juice. Add the oranges to the fennel. Thinly slice the kumquats and onions, then add to the bowl. Chop the olives coarsely. Do not add the olives to the fennel or toss the salad until ready to dress and serve, otherwise the olives will turn the mixture black.

To make the vinaigrette, Remove any seeds or membrane from the juice and add the vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil emulsified. Set aside until ready to serve.

To serve, add the olives and arugula to the salad. Drizzle on just enough vinaigrette until salad is lightly coated, but not overly dressed. Serve as is or with grilled shrimp, slices of grilled chicken or a piece of grilled tuna fillet. Garnish with olive crostini.

Buon appetito!
copyright 2008 Alisa Barry

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