Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Baby Arugula, Orange and Fennel Salad with Grilled Shrimp and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

I'm not a big fennel person, but this recipe for Baby Arugula, Orange & Fennel Salad with Grilled Shrimp and White Balsamic Vinaigrette sounded so good I overlooked the heavy use of fennel ingredients. I'm glad I did too because all of the orange flavors really balanced the fennel out and the fennel tasted amazing! And there are so many different uses of fennel in this recipe I decided to use it as my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging. The main fennel bulb is sliced up and used in a salad. I thought it was interesting that the recipe advised chilling the fennel in a bowl of ice water to crisp it up before adding it to the salad. Fennel fronds (I had to look up online) are the grassy parts at the top of the fennel stalk and they are used in the marinade and the vinaigrette. Toasting the fennel seeds in a pan on the stove smelled really great too. I didn't really grind them up before I added them to the vinaigrette. I just pounded them a bit with a wooden meat mallet. But I think it released some of the flavors and it added a bit of a crunch to the salad.

Overall, this recipe was amazing. I like dinners where I prepare on part the night before and then marinade overnight as I did with the shrimp. There is quite a bit of chopping both for the marinade and the vinaigrette so if I were to make this again I'd make the marinade and the vinaigrette at the same time. The vinaigrette can be stored for up to two weeks. So if I did all that prep work the night ahead all I would have to do is grill the shrimp and chop the veggies for the salad. I didn't grill the shrimp on a grill, I used a grill pan on the stove and cooked it in batches.

I have to admit that I only made half of the veggies for the salad but I made all the shrimp. So I had salad for 3-4 servings and shrimp for 6-8 servings. There were only two of us and we ate almost all of the shrimp because it was so good!

Baby Arugula, Orange & Fennel Salad with Grilled Shrimp and White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 tablespoon undiluted orange juice concentrate

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons minced orange zest

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons minced shallots

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fennel fronds

1 tablespoon fennel seed, toasted and crushed

2 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds large raw shrimp (32 to 40)

1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed

6 oranges or tangerines

6 cups baby arugula

2 heads baby frisee, torn, rinsed, and spun dry

White Balsamic Vinaigrette (see below)

To marinate the shrimp, whisk all the ingredients, except the shrimp, in a large bowl. Peel, devein, and remove tails, then add the shrimp to marinade and toss to coat. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 1 hour to overnight.

To prepare the salad, finely shave the fennel bulbs with a sharp knife or a mandoline and crisp in ice water for 10 minutes. Spin dry before using. Cut the peel off the oranges, trim away all the white pith, then cut the fruit into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Flick out any seeds. (If prepared ahead, refrigerate the fennel and orange slices separately, for up to 2 hours.)

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high. Grill the shrimp until just pink and done, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, toss the arugula, frisee, fennel, and oranges with enough of the vinaigrette to coat nicely - taste for flavor, adding more dressing if needed.

Server the salad on a large platter or divide among individual plates, arrange the shrimp on top, and drizzle with a little extra dressing if desired.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup while balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoon minced shallots

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup undiluted orange juice concentrate

Pinch of red pepper flakes, or 1 tablespoon harissa paste

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fennel seed, toasted and ground

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, shallots, mustard, and juice concentrate. Whisk in the pepper flakes, salt, pepper to taste, and fennel seed. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly to emulsify. Stir in the fennel fronds. If made ahead, refrigerate until shortly before needed, then re-whisk before using. The vinaigrette keeps, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

Checkout the Weekend Herb Blogging roundup hosted by Vani from Batasari sometime next week.


Sorina said...

What a great recipe blog looks delicious

Kalyn said...

What a great photo of the salad! It sounds fantastic. So many great flavors.