This salad is called the Gypsy salad because it is a melange of flavors, textures and ideas from around the world. Blood orange, arugula, and fennel from Europe mix with jalapeno and avocado from Mexico. Cumin, mint, and dates from the Middle East come into play as well. Many of these ingredients, like dates, have traveled from their origin, and are now part of new cultures. It is like us, a gypsy that never stops traveling. The measurements are not exact, we trust that you add how much you want of each ingredient, and enjoy the journey that it takes you on.
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and outer layer removed (if bruised)
1 handful of baby arugula
1 handful of dates, pitted and sliced in quarters
a few kalamata or Moroccan black olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 of a jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 avocado, halved and pitted
1 sprig of mint
Small handful of parsley
a handful of fresh walnuts, roughly chopped
2 blood oranges (you can substitute regular oranges or cara caras here also)
1 lime (kaffir limes welcome!)
1-2 Tablespoons sherry or rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of cumin and salt
Slice the fennel in half lengthwise, and then thinly slice each half horizontally. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the arugula.
Add the sliced dates and olives.
Thinly slice the jalapeno. If you are sensitive to heat, finely mince it, but if you like more of a bite, slice it in small horizontal strips. You only need a 1/4 of the pepper or so.
Roughly chop or tear the herbs and add to the bowl.
Keep the avocado meat in the skin and score with a knife in long vertical slices. Use a spoon to get under the meat and scoop out the slices over the salad bowl.
For the dressing, zest the oranges and the limes with a zester or microplane over the salad bowl. You will only need a little bit of the lime zest and about 1/2 of one of the orange's zest. Slice off the top and bottom of the oranges, removing the skin and pith. Next place the oranges, one at a time, on the cutting board and slice off the skin and pith (without going to deep!) to reveal each segment. Working over another small bowl, slice out each orange segment carefully, allowing the juices to fall into the small bowl, and then add the segments to the larger salad bowl. When you have finished slicing the oranges, squeeze out any excess juice into the small bowl. Juice the lime into the bowl as well. Stir in the cumin, vinegar, and olive oil and whisk to combine (you can just do this with a fork).
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.
Add the crumbled walnuts.
This salad works as an appetizer, but it also goes beautifully on top of grilled fish like tuna or mahi mahi, or atop a grilled chicken breast.