I'm developing an addiction. And it's not a healthy one. So this recipe is an attempt to bend that addiction into something halfway respectable.
There's a local family that makes some very, very awesome chorizo. And they sell it in the one store to which I have easy access. It's affordable, fast and spicy. Danger.
Even worse, one of the members of that family is in my cooking program - so every time I buy it, I'm filled with that lovely and self-righteous satisfaction of supporting your community and buying local. It even makes the chorizo taste better - like when someone you know bakes you a birthday cake and it's obviously the best thing ever.
Luckily, I can temper the addiction with the veg garden outside our door. Right now, fennel is coming into season - a great combo with chorizo for a nice Spanish-inspired salad. Because if chorizo is gonna be a staple of my diet, I have to atone for it somehow.
This salad also came about because I have to practice segmenting oranges for class. You'd think this would not be a big deal. But it can be tricky. Using a small sharp knife, you cut off all the peel going around the orange in a corkscrew motion, making sure you remove all the rind and pith while still maintaing a nice round shape. Then, over a bowl so you can catch the juices, cut out one segment of orange, cutting close to the membrane on each side. From then on, we're supposed to cut each segment on the side closest to us, and use the blade to gently nudge out the segment without cutting the far membrane. I am FINALLY getting the hang of it, but a lot of oranges have been mangled along the way.
This salad makes a great lunch or boldly-flavored starter for a tapas dinner party. Use Spanish chorizo (not the crumbly Mexican kind), and good quality olives. Also, play with the proportions of the dressing to adjust for your own taste. Since the chorizo is so rich, I use a bit less oil than usual.
Chorizo, Fennel and Orange Salad
Yield: Serves 4 as a starter
Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 20 min Total Time: 40 min
handful of sliced almonds
6" length of Spanish chorizo
1 head of fennel, cored and sliced very thin. Save the fronds for garnish.
1 head of butter or romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
handful of black or green olives
1 Tbs sherry vinegar
1.5 Tbs olive oil
Juice from the orange
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F / 200C.
Scatter almonds into roasting pan and roast til golden brown, about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cut chorizo into lardons (rectangle about 1" long by 1/4" thick). Add to skillet and cook over medium til crisp, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Segment orange over a bowl, reserving juices. (See notes above for instruction)
Once almonds are cooked, remove from pan. In same pan, toss fennel in a glug of olive oil, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast, stirring occasionally, til crispy at edges, about 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make dressing - combine sherry vinegar, olive oil and orange juice, whisk, then season with salt and pepper.
Toss lettuce with dressing, then top with chorizo, oranges, fennel and black olives. Scatter almonds over the salad and serve.