Fennel Orange Salad with Spicy Honey Candied Bacon a deliciously refreshing side that’s the perfect accompaniment to heavy winter meals or to serve as a light but satisfying entrée salad.
Salty bacon, sweet honey, crunchy fennel, and juicy orange with just a hint of lingering heat.
Seasonal Winter Salad
Some time smack dab in the middle of winter, I find myself craving the lighter meals of summer. A nice salad full of crispy vegetables, bright dressings, and fresh flavors. I love all the roasts and stews, but I just need a nice crisp bite to balance the richness.
Making the best of in season winter citrus, spicy chili peppers and crisp fennel bulb this Fennel Orange Salad with Spicy Candied Bacon is light and refreshing with a little sweet heat. The type of heat that hits you in the back of the throat and lingers for a bit. Leaving you wondering whether or not it really is spicy.
And just as you start to think it may be a lot spicy, the cool crunchy fennel and juicy orange chime in urging you to take another bite.
And it makes every bite of this salad perfectly balanced. Hitting on so many flavor notes – salty bacon, sweet honey, crunchy fennel, juicy orange and just a hint of lingering heat.
- Fennel – fennel is a perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. Fennel in season and readily available from fall into spring and its season coincides with citrus season. Fennel has a anise or licorice taste. Fennel bulb, stalk, flowers, pollen and seeds are all edible. The fennel bulb is used sliced in this fennel salad recipe. And the feathery fennel fronds are used as a garnish. Or substitute chives, basil, cilantro, or parsley for the fennel fronds.
- Oranges – or other seasonal citrus fruit like blood oranges. You can also make pear fennel salad or make a fennel salad with apples, celery, pomegranate, etc.
- Bacon – crispy cooked and crumbled bacon bits.
- Honey – or make brown sugar candied bacon or maple candied bacon instead of honey candied bacon
- Jalapeño pepper – or other similar spiced chili pepper to make spicy candied bacon. Or leave the jalapeno pepper out to have a delicious fennel salad that’s not spicy.
Step by step instructions
- Prepare ingredients. Peel and slice citrus fruit over a bowl to try to save as much juice as possible. Clean fennel and thinly slice, reserving the feathery fennel fronds to use to garnish.
- Make spicy honey by warming honey until smooth and shiny on the stovetop, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sliced jalapeño pepper and cool.
- Make a flavorful dressing from the spicy honey by stirring about 2 tablespoons orange juice from the cut orange ends into the cooled jalapeño honey. Stir until smooth.
- Place crumbled bacon and fennel slices in a medium bowl and pour dressing over. Toss lightly to coat then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange sliced citrus on a large plate or platter. Top with the honey bacon fennel mixture.
- Sprinkle with fennel fronds or fresh herbs.
How to make it an entree salad
Enjoy as is or make it a meal by serving over a bed of spinach or arugula and topping with shrimp, fish, poultry, or pork. Much like this Chef’s Garden Salad with Herb Cider Viniagrette or this Citrus Glazed Salmon Salad.
- 3 medium navel oranges peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb thinly sliced, about 2 cups
- 4 slices thick cut bacon cooked and crumbled, about ½ cup
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ small jalapeño pepper 1 tablespoon sliced
- ¼ cup fennel fronds chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm honey until smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes.2 tablespoons honey
- Remove from heat, stir in sliced jalapeño pepper, and cool. Squeeze about 2 tablespoons orange juice from the cut orange ends into the cooled jalapeño honey. Stir until smooth. Add crumbled bacon and fennel slices. Season to taste with salt.1 small fennel bulb, 4 slices thick cut bacon, ¼ small jalapeño pepper, salt and pepper
- Arrange orange slices on platter, top with the honey bacon fennel mixture. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and fresh ground pepper to taste.3 medium navel oranges, ¼ cup fennel fronds
- Serve and enjoy!