Sicilia is where the wine and travel bug started for us. In 2009 we worked together with the our friends Cynthia and Elisabetta of the Farmhouse Table to take a group of New Orleanians on our first wine and culinary tour of the island. The food was exquisite, truly some of the best we've ever eaten, combined with a diverse, distinct wine culture that is unlike anywhere else in the world. This dish is a traditional Sicilian style insalata with a few added twists like pomegranate and Kerry's microgreens. It is quick and simple except for the segmenting of the citrus (instructions below).And the pairing? We brought back a really cool bottle from our Oregon (another of our favorite places featured in our annual staff dinner) tour last year that I knew would be perfect, a 2012 Dominio IV Viognier/Syrah blend Rose' and it was amazing with the dish!
2 large round fennel bulbs, trimmed, and several fennel fronds set aside
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large blood oranges, peeled and segmented
1 cup pomegranate seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
microgreens for garnish
An 8-ounce chunk hard pecorino, such as sardo or toscano, for shaving
Using a mandolin or other vegetable slicer, shave the fennel crosswise into thin slices. Place in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and olive oil. Add the blood orange segments, pomegranate seeds, and fennel fronds and toss gently to mix. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Arrange the fennel salad on four individual plates. Shave the pecorino in long shards over each plate, and serve.
Using a paring knife, cut off the top and bottom of the fruit to expose the flesh. Stand the fruit upright on the work surface and, with your knife, carefully remove the skin and bitter white pith, working vertically from top to bottom and following the natural round shape of the fruit, turning it as you go. Carefully trim away any remaining pith.
To segment, hold the fruit over a bowl to catch the juices, and cut down along either side of the membrane to free each section of fruit. Then, if the recipe also calls for the juices, squeeze the membranes over the bowl to extract the remaining juices.