Thinly shaved fennel tossed with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, fresh orange segments, and salty pecorino cheese.

Shaved Fennel Orange and Pecorino Salad

Um, I’m fairly confident that this salad barely qualifies as a recipe.  I’m not sure, you be the one to judge.  But I’m sharing it nonetheless.

It is light, bright, and healthy.  It’s a farewell to winter fruits and vegetables, but an ode to spring all at the same time.  I mean, its going to be above 60 degrees today, the sun is still shining when I get home from work, and I turned on my car air conditioning system for the first time in months over the weekend.

Fennel Bulb

Don’t worry.  I’m sure I’ll be complaining that it is too hot soon enough.  Because let’s face it, there is basically only a two week span out of the entire year where I feel truly comfortable and content.

Give me all the 60-70 degree days in the world!  I can wear absolutely anything and be comfortable.  Now that is pure bliss.

Orange Segments

Sort of like this salad.

This past summer, I became infatuated with grilled fennel.  But even more recently, I’ve fallen in love with it in its most delicate form. Raw and shaved thinly. It is delicate, yet crisp and has the loveliest anise flavor without being at all overpowering.

Shaved Fennel

As easy as salads appear in theory, sometimes they can pose a challenge.  Especially when you want to prep all of the ingredients ahead of time and not have the ingredients wilt and wither away in the process.  For example, raw fennel does not retain its wonderful crunch and crispness very long after it is sliced.

This is when ice cold water becomes your best friend. Don’t ever underestimate the power of ice water.  Since this salad is all about texture, crispness, and crunch,  I like to soak the shaved fennel in ice water for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving this salad.   You can also try this trick with radishes, frisee, carrots, etc.  It makes the world of difference, I promise.

[On that note, don’t forget to dry or pat down the fennel thoroughly afterwards.]

Shaved Fennel Orange and Pecorino Salad

The next step is to toss the shaved fennel with lemon juice and olive oil, before adding orange segments and shaved pecorino cheese.  The funky, peppery, salty pecorino, sweet oranges, and crisp fennel work so well together.

It’s the kind of salad that will make you feel a lot better after taste-testing far too many cupcakes.  And that’s always a good thing.

Shaved Fennel Orange and Pecorino Salad

Shaved Fennel, Orange, and Pecorino Salad

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This simple salad combines shaved fennel, fresh orange segments, salty pecorino cheese, and a basic lemon vinaigrette. An elegant winter citrus salad!


  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 navel orange
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • tablespoons (22 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • pecorino cheese shavings
  • fennel fronds for garnishing


  • Trim the tops of the fennel bulb. Cut lengthwise into quarters. Trim the core. Using a mandolin, shave the fennel into very thin slices. Place the shaved fennel in a large bowl of ice water for 5 to 10 minutes, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This step will add a lovely crispness.
  • Trim both ends of the orange. Using a sharp paring knife and edges of the orange as a guide, cut off the peel of the orange, removing all of the white pith. Using the knife, carefully segment the orange by slicing between the membrane and the fruit. Set the orange segments aside.
  • Place the lemon juice in a large salad bowl. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove the shaved fennel from ice water. Pat dry with kitchen linens (or alternatively, carefully dry in a salad spinner). Add the shaved fennel to the salad bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Plate and top with orange segments and shaved pecorino cheese. Garnish with fennel fronds.  Serve immediately.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 211kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 544mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 10g