It seems that they just adore searing vegetables in a hot pan and then adding a few choice ingredients to bring out the best of the vegetable's flavor. How can you argue with that! It certainly is making my hubby see vegetables in a whole new light, and eat ones that have never passed his lips to date. That's a win in my book!
This is not the exact recipe as listed in the cookbook, but we were happy with the results! Clearly this dish is best in the winter when citrus is most plentiful. But do not let that deter you, eat some fresh spring fennel with those non-seasonal oranges, I won't tell!
Seared Fennel and Orange Salad
1 large fennel bulb (or 2 small ones)
3 mandarin oranges (satsumas were what I had on hand; Gjelina uses blood oranges)
fresh orange juice (I juiced a satsuma)
1/4 cup vegetable stock
pinch red pepper flakes
Heat a cast iron skillet on low heat for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, trim the stalks off the fennel, reserving a few fronds for garnish. Slice the bulbs in 1/2 inch slices through the root to help the slice stay intact. Peel 2 satsumas (or similar small mandarin oranges) and cut the segments in half. Cut one satsuma in half and set aside.
Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet and swirl to cover. Place fennel cut sides down and allow it to sear for 5-7 minutes, until you can see that it is caramelizing on the bottom (turning brown). Gently turn over to sear the other side for another 4-5 minutes. Juice the satsuma into the pan and add the stock and allow the liquid to thicken. Cover to ensure fennel cooks through. Toss in satsuma segments along with red pepper flakes and salt if desired. Garnish with fennel fronds.