Now, I can relax. I've used up the last of my fennel.

Last week, I bought WAY too much fennel, simply because it was on sale and seemed like a good way to add interest to my week. Since I'd never prepared fennel before, it ended up creating quite a bit of anxiety for me.

I did pretty well, if I do say so myself, with a Cauliflower Fennel Soup inspired by a recipe in  Eating Local by Janet Fletcher. But I still had three heads left.

It was Very Stressful.

By Wednesday of last week, they were quite ready for use. By Thursday they were looking a little sad. And by Friday, I knew that time was of the essence. I needed to act quickly or risk losing them.

So I was delighted when a friend (thanks, Ayala!) shared an Orange Fennel Salad recipe from the Food Network, and when I come across a similar recipe on Shutterbean, a lovely food blog with beautiful photos. The original recipes called for lots of fennel (check), oranges (check) and arugula (uh-oh). I left out the arugula, which isn't a favorite ingredient of mine anyway, and also changed the wine vinegar to cider vinegar. It was terrific. A new favorite. And the best part is that I've used up all the fennel in the fridge! On to new exotic ingredients....

Fennel Orange Salad, based on a recipe from Shutterbean

2 oranges
3 medium bulbs fennel, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice (you can squeeze the juice from the bits left after segmenting)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar or honey (more or less depending on your taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the ends off of each orange. Place the fruit cut end down and cut away the peel by following the orange's shape. Then, use a sharp knife to cut each orange into about segments. 

Place the sliced fennel and half the orange segments in a large salad bowl. In a smaller bowl or cup, mix the olive oil with the orange juice, vinegar, brown sugar, and salt & pepper. Pour dressing over the fennels and oranges and toss well. 

Put the salad onto a plate and decorate with the remaining oranges. Serve immediately.