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Winter Citrus and Fennel Salad

The thing about having the blues is that it comes from nowhere. It's not a feeling you can easily attribute to one cause or another, and so the question, "What's wrong," while usually asked by well-meaning folks, is irritating simply because it can't be answered. There are lots of creative ways to express sadness in our language--down in the dumps, bummed out, feeling low, blue--but I rarely manage to verbalize angst any better than this.

I suppose this is the time of year to feel this way, though. We're all chilled to the bone, snowed in, frozen out, soggy, and craving sunlight. Of course, it could always be worse, as perhaps our well-meaning mothers would say. But the starving-children-in-Africa style of argumentation seldom works for a child facing a mountain of broccoli or, heaven forefend, Brussels sprouts. And feeling blue is the same way. You acknowledge that your life is pretty swell, you count your blessings, you try to live in the moment and embrace all the little things, but you can still feel like someone has their foot on your heart.

I wish I had a remedy for it. I'm kind of an expert on the subject. I've been down far enough for long enough to see the world as you might if you were trapped in the bottom of a well, a tiny circle of sunlight far out of reach. But I've also made it back out, felt like the luckiest person on earth, charged into the riotous sunset on the horse of jubilation.

But the truth is, my only advice is to lick your wounds, listen to all the sad songs you can bear, and try to stay busy somehow. If you have to, buy a bag of onions and chop them all--just keep your hands busy. It's not much of a prescription, and it won't make you feel new again, but it will tide you over.

This afternoon, my busy project was a salad. Making a salad doesn't exactly sound like something that will pick you up, but for me, chopping vegetables and fussing over produce usually gives me a lift. It's a part of cooking that isn't terribly glamorous, but I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from the process. And citrus fruits happen to be one of my absolute favorite things to prepare. Sure, you can just peel an orange and call it a day, but once you learn how to supreme a citrus fruit, you'll be doing it all the time. Well, maybe I shouldn't speak for you, but I found myself doing it all the time. Please see this handy post on how to supreme citrus fruits--it's worth a look, I promise.

This is more of an idea than a recipe, so you can take it in one of many directions. Use whatever citrus fruits you want--grapefruits, meyer lemons, kumquats, pomelos, satsumas--and dress them however you like. I simply used the juice of the citrus fruits I cut into and some good olive oil, salt, and pepper. I happened to have some pistachio oil in the cupboard from a baking project, and I drizzled some of that on top--delicious but totally and completely optional. 

Other articles you might enjoy: Fennel Salad With Asian Pears and Walnuts, Shaved Fennel Salad With Frisée, Almonds, and Raisins, Preserved Lemon Dressing

Winter Citrus and Fennel Salad
Serves 4 to 6

Trim and slice very, very thinly on a mandoline or with a sharp knife:
           1 large fennel bulb
Segment over a bowl to catch any juices:
           2 blood oranges
           1 grapefruit
           1 navel orange

Feel free to use any citrus fruit you want here--the ones above are just suggestions based on what I used.
Arrange the fennel shreds on a serving platter and top with the citrus. Add to the reserved citrus juice:
           2 tablespoons lime juice
Pour this over the salad. Drizzle generously with:
           High quality extra virgin olive oil
Garnish with:
           Pistachios

Comments

Yead's picture

Salad is my favourite.I can't eat anything without salad.I think this is the new recipe of salad.I will try it.

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