Self Dressing Salad

saladRoasts are one of the finer things about winter cooking – tasty, satisfying and so incredibly comforting! Winter salads offer an interesting alternative to keep your fruit and vegetable count high.

This salad is a multi-tasker’s dream come true: simple, easy to prepare, a tiny ingredient list AND it dresses itself. Fennel is a wonderfully flavoursome winter vegetable, and low in carbohydrates. Try this salad as an accompaniment to your favourite roasted meat, or on its own with a loaf of warm, crusty bread

Self-dressing Roasted Fennel and Orange Salad

1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs (about 500g untrimmed)
1 medium red onion
1 small orange, scrubbed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat your oven to 200C and line an oven tray with baking paper to prevent sticking.

Trim the fronds from the fennel. Stand a bulb on its base on the cutting board and cut it in half lengthwise, cutting from the core end to the stem end.

Remove most of the core from each half (no need to get it all out). Lay each half flat on the cutting surface and cut crosswise into 1cm-thick slices. Place on the baking sheet.

Cut the onion in half, cutting from root to stem end. Peel and remove the root end from both halves. Slice the onion halves crosswise into 1cm-inch-thick and add to the fennel.

Next, slice about 5cm off each end of the orange and reserve (you’ll use these later to squeeze over the salad). Stand the orange up on one cut end and cut it lengthwise in half, and then cut each half lengthwise in half again, leaving you with 4 pieces.

Arrange each quarter with cut side down and slice crosswise into 1cm-inch-thick. Add the orange to the fennel and onion.

Drizzle the olive oil on top and season well with salt and plenty of pepper. Toss to coat and arrange as best you can in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast, stirring with a spatula after 15 minutes to ensure even cooking and again every 10 minutes or so.

The vegetables close to the edge of the pan will brown more quickly than those in the centre, so stirring and then shaking the pan to restore an even layer helps everything cook at the same rate.

Roas until the vegetables and orange are tender and the outer edges are beginning to caramelise, 25 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish, preferably flat and wide. Let cool for at least 15 minutes or to room temperature. Squeeze the juice from one of the reserved orange ends over the salad and taste. If it tastes a little flat, add a pinch of salt and squeeze the other orange piece over it. Drizzle with a little of your best olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature.