Sunday, 28 November 2010

Orange, Poached Quince, and Fennel Salad

Guess what - I have managed to sneak quince into yet another recipe :)
I made this salad for Thursday's meal and it was born out of the idea of making a wintery salad (and oranges and fennel are one of my all-time favourite wintery combinations) and having something with quince. I guess I don't have to start praising quince again, but they're still in season and go incredibly well with venison or lamb (though they worked just fine with chicken on Friday).
Anyhow, we all know they're all magical and awesome so I'll get to the recipe, shall I :) 
The quantities are what I would use for about 4 people.

Orange, Poached Quince, and Fennel Salad
1 Quince
2 Fennel Bulbs
2 Oranges
1 cup Orange Juice
1 cup Water
2 tbsp Honey
7 Mint Leaves or so
Apple Cider Vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, potentially some Dijon Mustard

Peel the quince, then cut it into quarters to remove the core.
Cut the quarters into 3 wedges each and put everything into a pot with the orange juice, water, honey and mint leaves (the liquid should cover the quince, if that's not the case in your pot, add some more orange juice or water).
Bring the liquid to a boil over a medium high heat, then turn it down so it simmers when you put the lid on. Now you have to patient because the quince will take FOREVER! You'll want to stir them every once in a while but apart from that you'll have an hour and a bit or so to get some work done or read an exciting book.
Wash the fennel bulbs, half them and then slice them fairly thinly (I normally aim for something under 5mm, not always successfully but that is the goal). Set aside in a salad bowl.
Cut of the orange peel and then cut out the segments. Put the segments into the bowl with the fennel.
Once you've cut out all the segments squeeze the juice in the bit you're left with (what is that actually called?) into a bowl and use it with the vinegar and olive oil to make a dressing. If you feel like the dressing could do with a bit of a kick then add a very small amount of mustard. 
Season with some salt and pepper if needed.
By now the quince should be ready. You'll know they're ready when they are tender and, when you try them, there is no tannic taste to them anymore if they still taste fairly bitter give them more time.
Once the quince are done, drain the cooking liquid (though that might also make a nice mixer with soda water) and add them to the fennel and orange segments.
Mix everything with the dressing, sit back and relax and enjoy your salad :)

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