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Cranberry, orange and fennel salad

January 27, 2010

Dried cranberries are one of the more useful items of produce to slip onto supermarket shelves in recent years.

I like to keep a bag of them in the pantry because they are very versatile. You can add a few to a bowl of cereal, drop them into a pot of yoghurt, use them in muffins and fruit loaves or add them to a mix of dried fruit and nuts for a snack.

While they are  low in saturated fat and sodium and high in dietary fibre, they also contain quite a lot of sugar but then they are generally used in moderation.

They mix quite happily in sweet and savoury dishes but I especially like to use them to gussy up a salad as they offer texture, taste and colour.

For a dish like today’s salad, I recommend first soaking the dried cranberries in hot water or even hot juice such as orange or cranberry for about 30 minutes prior to assembling the salad. The nice fat berries look really pretty, adding a jewel-like touch to the other ingredients.

If fennel is unavailable you can substitute finely sliced firm white cabbage.

Cranberry orange salad

Cranberry, orange and fennel salad

1 medium fennel bulb
3 sweet oranges
1/4 cup cranberries soaked in hot water or juice
the white part of 3 spring onions
juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon castor sugar
2 tablespoons light olive oil
pinch of salt
a few parsley leaves or fennel fronds for garnish

Thinly slice the fennel bulb using a sharp knife or a mandolin. Finely chop the spring onion.

Using a serrated knife, and working over a bowl, cut the peel and pith from the oranges, removing the skin from the top of each segment as you go. Then segment the fruit by cutting  down parallel with the membrane on each side, effectively “peeling” each segment. Save the juice.

Arrange the shaved fennel and onion on a platter and encircle with the orange segments. Sprinkle over the drained cranberries.

Whisk together the saved juice, lime juice, sugar and olive oil and season with the salt. Pour over the salad and garnish with a few flat parsley leaves or tiny pieces of saved fronds from the fennel.

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| ©2000-2013 Pat Churchill