I am not a natural salad maker. Never have been. Don’t get me wrong, I love a salad, well-dressed, tossed at the last possible minute and arranged with love, and will happily eat a whole bowl completely on my own. It’s just that often a salad in itself doesn’t quite seem to be enough and I find myself opting to make something a little more complex, as though a salad just isn’t enough work.
But something has changed. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s attempting to eat as many vegetables as possible every day. Whatever it is, salads are appearing on our table as complete meals on their own, much to my surprise and delight.
I bought some beautiful organic blueberries from the market on Saturday morning and found a rather sad-looking bulb of fennel lurking about at the back of the fridge on our return. This salad (doesn't it look spunky?) was what we ate in the afternoon.
Look, this salad goes against one of my old principles – that fruit and vegetables should not play together – combining the incredibly unlikely combination of oranges, blueberries (rich in antioxidants) and wafer-thin slices of fennel (a source of gentle, crisp bitterness in our overly-sweet Western diet). What can I say? It’s luscious. It comes, with a little adaptation by me, from Nadine Abensur’s ‘Crank’s Bible’. And it looks so beautiful.
Salad of fennel, avocado and blueberries
Serves 2 for lunch, or a light dinner
For the dressing: Juice of ½ an orange 1 small clove of garlic VERY finely chopped A small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped ½ tablespoon of good olive oil 2-3 drops of balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons of tamari (or soy sauce)
Mix all of this together and set aside.
For the salad: 1 small bulb of fennel, sliced wafer-thin 2 oranges, peeled, seeded and segmented 1 ripe and gorgeous avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced A small handful of fresh blueberries 1 tablespoon of walnuts, broken up with your fingers
Combine all of the ingredients in a shallow salad dish and toss very gently with the dressing (maybe not all of it, especially if your oranges were as juicy as mine) and serve immediately with extra coriander sprigs if you can be bothered.