Blood oranges are in season! They love to party with subtly spiced sweet potatoes, earthy beans and…fennel. Now, if you are a bit nervous about fennel – after all, it is rather aniseedy – then try it in slither thin slices, toned down with a simple marinade of lime juice and salt, and combined with a raft of flavours and textures. In fact there is so much going on here – in a good way, rather than haphazard – you may not even notice the f-veg. And you don’t have to use the whole bulb.
If you have a mandolin (I’ve recently bought mine and am a convert), it works like magic on fennel. Otherwise, sharpen your best knife to shave the bulb as thinly as possible.
Eat this salad hot or cold; I particularly love it with fresh tomatoes and rocket which heighten the juicy freshness and add a peppery leafy crunch, respectively.
Ingredients (serves 4)
Sweet potatoes – a bag of about 1-1.5 kg
800g black-eyed beans
Scattering of cumin seeds
Scattering of chilli flakes
2-3 red onions
Fresh coriander – 20-30g bag
Blood Orange Dressing
Juice of a blood/normal orange
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tbp olive oil
1 tbp apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 200 (fan)/220 (conventional)
- First of all, prepare your fennel. Slice it as thinly as possible, put in a bowl and sprinkle over the lime juice and a pinch of salt. Stir and leave to one side.
- Scrub/peel the sweet potatoes and then cube into bite-sized chunks. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, scatter in the cumin seeds and chilli flakes and roast for 35-45 minutes until soft but not mushy or brown.
- Make the blood orange dressing whilst you are waiting for the sweet potatoes to cook. Crush the garlic – squish with a knife and then finely chop if you do not have a garlic press – and whisk all the dressing ingredients together.
- If you are using tinned beans, drain them and rinse thoroughly under the tap before heating gently in a large saucepan with the blood orange dressing.
- Once the sweet potato is cooked, stir it into the beans and dressing. Continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, allowing the flavours to mingle, before garnishing with finely diced red onion and coriander.
I am sharing this with Alpha Bakes (this month, letter O), created by Caroline Makes and The More than Occasional Baker.