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It’s been a while since we have had a fennel in our household but thanks to our recent trip to Michigan we have two delightfully delicious ones in the fridge.  Today I wanted to make a crunchy salad to go along with a side dish of Mock Duck and Green Beans.  Some nights I know what I want to use in our kitchen but can’t come up with an easy recipe to try out.  Luckily I found this recipe at Epicurious Online.  Three cheers for having all the ingredients in our kitchen all at once, that’s always a sign that it was just meant to be on our dining room table.

This recipe was a wonderful light dish that complemented the oily mock duck side dish on the table.  It contains sweet, savory beets, crunchy fennel, juicy oranges, and salty olives.  Some of the best dishes are created with a variety of different texture and tastes.  For me one of the best parts of this salad is the color, bright pinkish purple!  Who wouldn’t want to eat it?

You can find the original recipe here at: Epicurious. Warning, it is a large recipe and yields enough for about 30 servings.  Yikes!  I had to cut it down a lot but it was easy enough to accomplish.  The original recipe:

* 12 medium beets, trimmed
* 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
* 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
* 1 cup olive oil
* 6 fennel bulbs, trimmed (fronds reserved), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
* 12 large navel oranges
* 1 1/2 cups halved pitted Kalamata olives
 
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets in foil. Place on baking sheet. Roast beets until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool. Peel beets; cut into rounds.
Mix orange peel, mustard and fennel seeds in bowl. Whisk in vinegar. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper. (Beets and dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill. Bring dressing to room temperature before using.)
Place fennel slices in bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Cut peel and white pith from oranges. Cut oranges into rounds. Alternate beets and oranges along edge of platters, overlapping. Spoon fennel slices into center; sprinkle with olives. Drizzle remaining dressing over beets and oranges. Chop fronds; sprinkle over salad.
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