Seedless and easy to peel, the satsuma is the mandarin orange equivalent to the clementine. Satsumas will probably be one of the most juicy and flavorful citrus fruit you’ll ever sink your teeth into, so what better to with all that juice than to use it in a vinaigrette and make a kick ass salad, that will not only taste great but will be almost seasonal and fresh in the dead of winter?
Musical pairing: Wolves in the Throne Room – Two Hunters. Americanized black metal, that like fennel and the satsuma is seasonally better in the dead of winter.
2 Satsumas (clementines or mandarin oranges can be substituted)
1 Head Fennel
2 Stalks Celery
2 TBL Olive Oil
1 TSP Sherry Vinegar
1/2 TSP Kosher Salt
1/2 – 1 TSP Sugar (if needed)
Shaved Parmesan (for garnish)
Procedure: To prepare the fennel trim the stalks (reserve for later), leaving about an inch above the bulb, cut off the bottom root then peel the outer fibrous layer of the bulb with vegetable peeler. Cut the fennel in half vertically then lay the fennel cut side down and using your knife, remove the solid center core with a conical v shaped incision, repeat with the other half. Slice the fennel with the cut side down into 1/8″ slices (so you know you’re cutting it right, the slices should break apart into half circles). If you have a mandolin slicer, dust it off because it will make fast work of this. Once done put the fennel in a salad bowl.
Peel the carrot, then if you have a mandolin, set to a very very thin setting and slice the carrot length wise. We want paper thin ribbons. If you don’t have a mandolin, you can cut the carrots however you choose, just try to make the slices thin. Add the carrot to the salad bowl. Cut the celery into 1/8″ slices and add to the salad bowl. For the shallot, trim the top and bottom then slice in half lengthwise. With the flat side down, slice into paper thin slices, separate with your fingers and add to salad bowl. Make supremes* with out of one of the satsumas and add to the salad bowl.
For the dressing, zest the other satsuma into a separate bowl. Cut the satsuma in half and squeeze the juice into this bowl. Then add the vinegar, olive oil and salt to this bowl and whisk till emulsified. At this point, you will want to taste the dressing. Like all fruit, no satsuma is created equal, you might need to augment the dressing with some sugar if it seems overly tart. Once you have the dressing tasting awesome (I test by dipping a slice of the fennel into it to make sure the balance is right). Add 1/2 the dressing to the salad bowl, mix and add more dressing until the salad is dressed to your liking.
Grab your fennel stalks and remove some of the fronds to use for garnish. Finish off the salad with shaved parmesan, and enjoy.
*Supremes: What the hell are they? A supreme is the meat of a citrus fruit, cut so it retains the crescent moon shape of one of the fruit’s natural segments with no skin and no peel, just straight up 100% fruit, the good stuff. To do this, slice the top and bottom off the fruit, don’t take too much off, about 1/8″ should suffice. Place one of the cut sides down, and using your knife, cut downward between the fruit and the peel, maintaining the spherical shape of the fruit as you go. The end result of this should be a sphere of citrus, with a flat top and bottom. No pith, no peel! Now, to liberate the fruit from its confines, hold it in your hand so that you are looking at the rounded side. We want to get those segments out without the skin that divides them. Take your knife and slice between the skin and the fruit. Slice inward as close to the dividing skin as possible cutting along the skin towards the center of the fruit. Repeat the process on the other side of the segment and it should pop out nicely. Repeat this process for the rest of the fruit.