Fennel, Beet and Orange Salad with Olives and Walnuts

Feb 4, 2009 by

Fennel beet I'm well aware that there are a lot of kids out there who wouldn't eat this salad, or they would pick out the oranges to eat. Kids will eat things like this if you start from the beginning and consistently serve all kinds of Real Food without fear. My kids have always eaten everything. I never asked them to eat anything, never bribed them, never tricked them. I'm not afraid of their hunger and they're not afraid of my food.

I don't believe in disguising food or in trying to get kids excited about food by making food look like something else, such making cherry tomatoes look like tiny baskets, or cutting carrots into flower shapes. Food is exciting as such.

This salad is bright, beautiful, and offers numerous distinctive and sumptuous flavors. Except that the beets are roasted (and the mustard, vinegar, and probably the oil), it qualifies perfectly as caveman food, what the earliest humans would have eaten: fruit, vegetable, including a root vegetable, and nuts. I would tell kids who wouldn't eat it that it's caveman food, and say, "Good, saves more for the rest of us." Then I would eat it myself.

4 medium beets, trimmed

1/2 T grated orange peel

1/4 T Dijon mustard

1 T fennel seeds, crushed

1 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 C olive oil

1 fennel bulb, trimmed (fronds reserved), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced

4 large navel oranges

1/3 C halved pitted Kalamata olives

1 C walnuts, chopped coarsely

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap beets in foil. Place on baking sheet. Roast beets until tender, about 75 minutes, depending on size. Cool, peel, and cut into rounds.

Mix orange peel, mustard and fennel sees in bowl. Whisk in vinegar, and then the oil, gradually. Season with salt and pepper.

Place fennel slices in a bowl and toss with enough dressing to coat. Cut peel and white pith from oranges and cut them into rounds. Alternate beets and oranges along the edge of a platter, overlapping. Spoon fennel slices into center. Sprinkle it all with olives and walnuts. Chop fennel fronds and sprinkle over salad. Serve with the remaining dressing.

Adapted from Bon Appetit's Deliciously Light cookbook.

© French Kids Don’t Get Fat / Anna Migeon / 2 February 2009 / All rights reserved

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