Citrus + Fennel Salad with Crushed Olives

Seasonal, flexible, and boldly flavorful, this Citrus + Fennel Salad with Crushed Olives is everything I want in the middle of Winter. Make this no-cook recipe to serve alongside roasted salmon or chicken, or as an easy starter or side.



For the salad:

  • 4 oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, or combination of all. I love blood oranges and cara cara oranges together here.
  • 1 small fennel bulb 
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 10 castelvetrano olives

For serving:

  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Flaky salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and chili flakes 
  • Few pinches fresh fennel fronds and mint, roughly chopped or torn

The Riffs, Subs + Swaps!

  • The Citrus: Oranges, grapefruit, or tangerines work best here. If you can find blood oranges or cara cara oranges I’d highly recommend using them here.
  • The Fennel: Fennel is classic with citrus but if you can't find it, just leave it out, or replace it with very thinly sliced shallot, and follow recipe instructions to toss in lemon juice and salt before plating to take off the raw edge.
  • The Olives: The olives *truly* make this dish special, don’t skip them. Castelvetranos are my favorite variety to use here, and you can sub in any kind you like. Kalamata olives would be extra briny and would look super beautiful on the plate. Or even better, a combination of both kinds of olives would be fabulous.
  • The Olive Oil: Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling here. I love Drizzle from Graza, and anything from Seka Hills. If you want to dress the salad up a bit more, you could whisk lemon juice or diced up preserved lemons in a bowl with olive oil and drizzle onto the plated salad.
  • The Herbs: Use any soft and tender herb you like in place or in addition to the fennel and mint. I love flat leaf parsley, dill, chives or tarragon.
  • The Toppings: Toasted pistachios, crumbled feta or goat cheese, thinly sliced serrano chiles, and crispy breadcrumbs would all be fabulous additions.


Prep the citrus, fennel, + olives

  1. Cut off the tops and bottoms of the oranges to create flat surfaces. Using sharp knife, carefully cut peel, pith, and membrane away. Alternatively, you can remove peel with hands as you normally would before eating an orange - slicing with knife will look cleaner by removing the pith, but both methods work! Repeat with remaining oranges, and slice crosswise into discs. Set aside. *Save some of the peel, as you can squeeze some of the fresh citrus juice from a peel or two when finishing the dish*
  2. Remove any sad looking outer layers of fennel. With root intact, slice fennel in half lengthwise. Thinly slice both halves with very sharp knife or mandolin slicer, you're almost going for shaved fennel. The thinner the slices the better. Discard root. Toss sliced fennel in juice of 1 lemon and season with kosher salt and set aside.
  3. Crush olives by placing on cutting board and gently crushing with flat side of knife or heel of your hand. Discard pits and tear or roughly chop olives into tiny pieces. Set aside.

Assemble salad

  1. Arrange citrus rounds and fennel on serving plate. I like to alternate layers of citrus and fennel here and there, but you don’t have to be too fussy. Scatter crushed olives on top. Squeeze fresh citrus juice on top with some of the reserved orange peel.
  2. Drizzle with generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Top with crushed red chili flakes and freshly cracked black pepper. Bring it all together with fresh fennel fronds and mint.