A couple posts ago, I mentioned that my friend, Domenica, recently came over so that we could prepare a delicious dinner together. Our goal was to keep it on the healthy side without compromising flavor. As we were pondering side dishes that would go with the beautiful filet of white, flaky fish we had envisioned for our main course, she mentioned a side dish with oranges and fennel as the primary ingredients.

She secretly lost me at fennel, as I’ve always had an aversion to all things reminding me licorice (if you’ve never had fennel, the two have very similar flavors, with fennel’s being more mild). However, not wanting to be fussy and aiming to be adventurous, I went with it. Amazingly enough, I’m ecstatic that I did.

The sweet and mildly tart navel oranges in combination with the crunchy fennel was divine. Somehow, pairing the two really toned down the strong flavor of the fennel and made for a well-balanced, refreshing side dish perfect for summertime. To enhance the dish, we finished it off with some cracked black pepper, chopped fennel fronds, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Yum!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 navel oranges, sliced as pictured
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced as pictured
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. fennel fronds, chopped (the leafy, herb-like component of stalk, often left attached to the bulb)
  • 2 tbsp. EVOO

What you’ll do:

  • Arrange the navel orange and fennel slices on a serving plate as pictured (or, get creative!)
  • Drizzle the EVOO over the slices
  • Garnish with the fennel fronds and desired amount of cracked black pepper

P.s. If, like me, you’re new to fennel and want to learn more, check out this guide from Cooking Light and these prep tips from Bon Appétit.