This fennel, orange, and watercress salad is easy to make and even easier (and far more pleasing) to look at. Its tangy lemon and honey vinaigrette can both start and stop conversations, which is exactly how we like our salads.
If the lovely appearance of this first-course salad of fennel, orange, and watercress isn’t sufficient to start conversations as well as bring them to an abrupt stop, its sprightly citrus zing oughta do the trick. Easy to make, pleasing to look at. That’s how we like our special occasion salads. Originally published December 19, 2015.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How To Segment Citrus Fruit
Learning how to segment citrus fruit is a cinch. For starters, you’ll need to reach for a sharp knife. Lop off about 1/2 inch from the top and bottom of the oranges to expose the flesh. Place the fruit on one of its flat ends and use the knife to follow the curve of the fruit as you remove the colored peel and the underlying white pith. Rotate and repeat, working your way around the fruit, until the citrus fruit is completely exposed. Then work your way around each fruit, slipping the knife between the citrus and the white membrane and freeing the individual segment so they slip out. It’s best to work over a bowl or a rimmed cutting board so you can capture the stray citrus juice.
Fennel, Orange, and Watercress Salad
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 25 M
- Serves 4
- 3 large oranges, preferably navel (seedless)
- Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, preferably organic (about 1 packed teaspoon)
- 1 small shallot, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 teaspoons runny honey
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (optional)
- 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 1/2 ounces watercress, trimmed
- 1 small to medium fennel bulb, cored and very thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1. First, peel and segment 2 of the oranges. (Never segmented citrus before? Not to worry. Simply follow the instructions in How To Segment Citrus Fruit above.) Set the segments aside and toss the peels and white membranes in the compost. Pour any juice into a bowl.
- 2. Squeeze as much juice as you can from the remaining orange and dump it in the bowl with the other juice. You should have about 7 tablespoons (100 milliliters). Add the lemon zest, shallot, honey, and thyme. Add the oil gradually, whisking constantly, until everything is emulsified. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- 3. Arrange the watercress on a large serving platter and then scatter the fennel on top. Arrange the orange segments over everything. Whisk the vinaigrette to recombine and then drizzle as much or as little as desired over the salad just seconds before serving. (Cover and refrigerate any remaining dressing for up to several days.)