I’ve been on a foodie (and scenic!) magic trip recently, and came upon this fabulous salad in the SW of the island, namely in Ortigia, the old part of Syracuse. I fell in love with this beautiful spot, and also in the restaurant, Porta Marina in Via dei Candelai. We went there twice in three nights…says it all!
Here’s a version of their Sicilian salad: fennel, orange, olives and so much more….
1 fennel bulb
12 small black olives, pitted (we found the slightly shriveled ones the tastiest)
a generous handful of rocket
2 tbsp capers, well rinsed - if they are small capers you may want to add some more
about 10 large raspberries; keep 3 for decoration
optional: anchovies; the original had them, but for vegetarian purposes, I left them out
Dressing: virgin olive oil, some lemon juice, the above mentioned raspberries and juice of half the orange
Using a mandolin, shave the fennel, saving the fronds for decoration. If you don’t have a mandolin then try to slice it as finely as possible – makes all the difference.
Halve the orange. One half will be juiced for the dressing. Peel the other half, ensuring you don’t have any pith. Cut this half into slices, then into small quarters.
Halve the black olives, removing the stones.
Rinse the capers well as they can be just too salty for this dish (although a bit of salt with the sweetness of the berries and orange is great. Hence if you love anchovies, chopping a few into the dish would be tasty).
For the dressing simply mash the 7 large raspberries, adding the orange juice and olive oil to make it more liquid. Be careful with adding salt, but freshly ground pepper is delicious. Some lemon juice will add more interest, and you may want to add a dash of water if it’s too thick.
Carefully mix all the ingredients together with the rocket leaves, and add the dressing. Dot the remaining halved raspberries on top.