Finally, however, I decided to invest a small amount in a mandoline in the hopes that I use it for more than just fennel. Already I've sliced the fennel, an onion, my thumb... Quite the little investment!
Shaved Fennel Salad with Orange
1 bulb Fennel (Also called Anise)
1/2 small onion
salt and pepper
Cut the green fronds off the bulb, as well as the root end. Slice in half. Slice each half as thinly as possible. Place in bowl.
Thinly slice the onion into rings. Separate the rings and add to the fennel.
The orange is going to have 3 treatments. First, use either a zester or fine-hole grater and grate off the rind into the fennel and onion mixture. Make sure not to get the white pith, it's bitter. Next, cut the top and bottom ends of the peel and pith off the orange, set it on the cutting board, and carefully working your way around the orange, cut off all the peel, leaving naked orange segments stuck together. You're going to hold this in your hand and cut each segment out from it's lining. Sort of how you section a grapefruit. These bits go in the fennel mixture as well. I like to segment the orange over the bowl so I don't lose the juice!
The dressing is simple. Squeeze the remaining pulp over the bowl to extract the juice. Drizzle with a little olive oil, maybe 2 tsp. Chop some of the fennel fronds and add that to the bowl. Toss well, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss again. Let it sit, covered, in the fridge for a good 30 minutes to let the flavors blend.
If you'd like more orange pieces like my kids did, you can always open a can of mandarin oranges in light syrup and use the drained pieces as a garnish!