Monday, June 21, 2010

Fennel and Arugula Salad with White Balsamic and Orange Vinaigrette

house pics 031  Holy cow!  Wine society met weeks ago and I’m just now telling you that it was FABULOUS!  The theme was fresh and grilled and we focused on local Farmer’s market ingredients.  This salad is a fine example of local: The arugula and greens came from our garden and though we were a few weeks early for island grown strawberries we managed to get some gorgeous raspberries instead. 

The subtle contrast of sweet and bitter is a sure salad winner but the real gem is this salad is the fennel.  It’s always fun to discover a new ingredient and in the two weeks since we had this salad at wine society I’ve embraced fennel; chopped, braised, added to scrambled eggs and of course in this salad.

I love the unexpected crunch and the spicy, clean taste.  The original recipe called for orange segments and the dressing is anchored by orange juice concentrate and the sweet meets spicy  orange/fennel combination is where the wow is.

Our wine expert, Jerred Wolfe from Palm Bay Imports paired this with Sella Mosca, Torbado.  You’re not alone if you have no idea what this wine is because it’s made from a very unusual grape that is only grown in a small vineyard in Sardinia…I’d never heard of it prior to wine society but I can tell you it’s a luscious wine with bright crisp notes that worked beautifully with this assertive salad.

This is a great summer salad and you can substitute any combination of greens and fruit, as we did, and have an unusual and impressive starter; add more shrimp and it could be a light summer dinner.

Baby Arugula, Strawberry & Fennel Salad with Grilled Shrimp and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

From:  Cathy Casey’s Northwest Table
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 tablespoon undiluted orange juice concentrate
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced orange zest
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fennel fronds
1 tablespoon fennel seed, toasted and crushed
2 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds large raw shrimp (32 to 40)
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed
Oranges or Strawberries
6 cups baby arugula or Bainbridge salad blend
2 heads baby frisee (or Bainbridge salad blend), torn, rinsed, and spun dry
White Balsamic Vinaigrette (see below)

To marinate the shrimp, whisk all the ingredients, except the shrimp, in a large bowl. Peel, devein, and remove tails, then add the shrimp to marinade and toss to coat. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 1 hour to overnight.
To prepare the salad, finely shave the fennel bulbs with a sharp knife or a mandoline and crisp in ice water for 10 minutes. Spin dry before using. Cut the peel off the oranges, trim away all the white pith, then cut the fruit into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Flick out any seeds. (If prepared ahead, refrigerate the fennel and orange slices separately, for up to 2 hours.)

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high. Grill the shrimp until just pink and done, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, toss the arugula, frisee, fennel, and strawberries with enough of the vinaigrette to coat nicely - taste for flavor, adding more dressing if needed. (Carla’s note: wait until just before serving to add dressing)
Server the salad on a large platter or divide among individual plates, arrange the shrimp on top, and drizzle with a little extra dressing if desired.


White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Makes 2 cups
1/2 cup while balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon minced shallots
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup undiluted orange juice concentrate
Pinch of red pepper flakes, or 1 tablespoon harissa paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seed, toasted and ground
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, shallots, mustard, and juice concentrate. Whisk in the pepper flakes, salt, pepper to taste, and fennel seed. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly to emulsify. Stir in the fennel fronds. If made ahead, refrigerate until shortly before needed, then re-whisk before using. The vinaigrette keeps, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

1 comment:

El said...

Such an elegant meal. I love the vinaigrette. Totally new to me and perfect fro summer.