Frankie Avalon, well-known entertainment legend of both the screen and the stage, is stepping into the culinary world with a new cookbook. Inspired by the Italian classics of his childhood, “Frankie Avalon’s Italian Family Cookbook” brings to life the homey Italian kitchen of his younger years. Woven together by family history and an honest love for cooking, Avalon takes Italian classics and makes them his own. We’re sharing his Orange and Fennel Salad, perfect for the upcoming winter months to share with your family!  

Orange and Fennel Salad

Makes 6 Servings

Orange and Fennel Salad

Crisp, refreshing, and attractive, this salad has it all. You can serve it as a first course, a side dish, or on a buffet. It is especially useful during the winter months when oranges are at their peak, but tomatoes and other vegetables are not at their best, and it is excellent with grilled fish. Because oranges can vary in sweetness, adjust the acidity with a little vinegar, if you wish. I like to use a plastic V-slicer or a mandoline to thinly slice the fennel, but use a knife if you prefer. Just be sure the fennel is very thin.

Ingredients

  • 2 navel oranges
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, about 1¾ pounds
  • 1 small red onion, thinly cut into half-moons
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)

Directions

  1. Finely grate the zest from 1 orange into a medium bowl. Using a serrated knife, trim off the top and bottom from the oranges. Working with one at a time, place an orange on end on the work surface, and cut away the skin and thick pith where it meets the flesh, leaving a peeled sphere. Cut the oranges hori­zontally into ¼-inch rounds. Squeeze enough of the rounds in your hand over a small bowl to obtain 2 tablespoons of juice. Cover and refrigerate the remaining orange rounds.
  2. Add the orange juice to the bowl with the zest. Whisk in the oil. Season the dressing to taste with the salt and pepper.
  3. Cut off the top stalks from the fennel bulbs. Reserve the fronds and save the stalks for another use. Cut each bulb in half verti­cally. Using a plastic V-slice, mandoline, or large knife, cut the fennel crosswise into slices about 1/16 inch thick. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with the dressing. Cover the bowl and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  4. Just before serving, taste the salad for acidity, and add the vin­egar, if desired. Arrange the orange slices around the perimeter of a serving platter, overlapping if needed. Add the red onion to the fennel and toss. Season the fennel salad to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the fennel salad over the orange slices so that the slices peek out from under the salad. Coarsely chop a tablespoon or so of the fennel fronds and sprinkle over the salad. Serve chilled.

Frankie Avalon’s Italian Family Cookbook” comes out October 6, 2015. For more delicious Italian recipes, head to your local book store or login to Amazon and order it online.

For more delicious recipes check out our Food & Drink section.

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