Recipe: Fennel and Tangerine Salad delivers flavor and crunch

Recipe: Fennel and Tangerine Salad delivers flavor and crunch

Fresh fennel, with its alluring crunch and flavor, is a welcome salad star. With a taste that is reminiscent of licorice, sliced raw fennel pairs deliciously with tangerine segments and a frisky vinaigrette.

For fennel rookies, ferreting it out at the supermarket can pose challenges. Often, it’s labeled “anise” or “sweet anise.” But that’s just that start of the fennel confusion. Because it has feathery, dark green tops, sometimes it is mistaken for dill.

Fennel? Look for a green-tinged (almost white) bulb with celery-like stalks sprouting from the top that are adorned with fernlike, dark green leaves.

This is an adaptation of a classic Sicilian salad. That mix most often contains olives and oranges. Here I have substituted toasted pecans or walnuts, and tangerines, using both segments and juice.

Fennel and Tangerine Salad

Yield: 8 servings


2 fresh fennel bulbs, cut into thin crosswise slices; see cook’s notes

3 tangerines, 2 peeled, pulled into segments, 1 juiced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

3/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed

Pinch of ground paprika

3/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 small head butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

Cook’s notes: To prep fennel, wash in cold water, then cut off fern-like greenery at the top (reserve it for garnish if desired). Make a shallow cut to trim off base. Remove and discard any brown layers. To cut into crosswise slices, cut bulb in half lengthwise, and place cut side down and cut each half in half lengthwise to produce quarters. If there is a core, cut it out and discard. Place cut side down on work surface and cut crosswise into slices. To toast nuts place on rimmed baking sheet and place in 350-degree oven for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until nicely browned. Watch carefully because nuts burn easily.


1. In a large salad bowl, combine all ingredients except lettuce. Toss well. Add lettuce and toss.

Have a cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at

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