Here we are in a new year already! 2022 is in the record books, everyone around me is doing “Dry-uary” (except Martha Stewart, who’s all in on Tito’s), starting a New Year’s diet, or back at the gym (this will only last until mid-January). My version of these resolutions is to turn to winter food that’s a little lighter than all the heavy meals I enjoyed over Christmas and New Years. Since it’s the New Year, I’m also keen to explore new interpretations of classic Italian ingredients and flavors.
At Christmas 🎄, we served a traditional Italian salad of raw fennel, black olives and sliced oranges, which I love this time of year. But I also love roasted fennel. I started to think about roasting fennel with other vegetables, and asked myself, “why not add citrus into the mix?” I won’t pretend that the result is a traditional recipe from a remote hill town in a little-traveled region of Italy: it’s my own invention. But while a bit of an experiment, this is a very Italian dish in its approach: in-season, vegetable-forward, simply prepared–and, as it turns out–a pleasantly surprising combination of winter flavors. The citrus–I used mandarin oranges, but other easily-segmented citrus would also work well–brings a note of tangy sweetness to the earthiness of the fennel and Brussels sprouts. Easy to prepare, light and healthy, this non-traditional yet very traditional vegetable dish can be served hot as a side dish or cold as a salad (as is or mixed with lettuces, which are in season in Los Angeles, at least!).
My post-Christmas blues are already ebbing as I anticipate more experiments and food adventures to share at Our Italian Table!Print
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 lb Brussel sprouts
- 3 Mandarin oranges or Tangerines
- 1–2 wedges cut from a Navel orange
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 400℉.
- Setup a mixing bowl to hold the ingredients.
- Trim away any brown on the fennel bulb root. Trim off the stems. Half the fennel bulb from top to bottom then into thin wedges. Add to bowl.
- Prepare the Brussel sprouts by trimming the ends and then cut in half through the stem end. Add to bowl.
- Peel the Mandarin oranges or Tangerines and break into segments. Add to bowl.
- Liberally coat the vegetables with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Pour the vegetables out on a sheet pan (I suggest you cover the pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
- Roast for 20 mins and then toss the vegetables around with a long spoon. Roast for another 10-15 mins until the vegetables are nicely browned.
- Remove from the oven and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Squeeze the orange segments on the cooked vegetables and toss.
- Serve while hot.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Cuisine: Italian