Dried Fig, Orange, Fennel, and Sweet Onion Salad with Mixed Greens

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This refreshing salad is perfect for perking up winter menus. If you like, you can poach the figs in the orange juice a day or two before serving.

Makes4 servings


Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursecold appetizer

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, healthy, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian


Taste and Texturefruity, savory, sweet

Type of Dishfirst course salad


  • 8 ounces dried Black Mission or Calimyrna figs (12 to 14 figs), stems trimmed
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle or the side of a heavy knife
  • 1 fennel bulb (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 large seedless oranges
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 6 cups mixed baby greens
  • 2 paper-thin slices red onion, separated into rings


  1. Combine the figs, orange juice, and fennel seeds in a small saucepan and heat to a boil. Cook, covered, over low heat until the figs are soft and the juice is reduced to 2 tablespoons, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. This step can be done 1 or 2 days before serving.

  2. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise; place the halves cut side down, and slice into thin half circles. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of the fernlike fronds and reserve them. Place the fennel slices in a bowl of iced water and let stand for at least 20 minutes. Then drain and blot dry.

  3. Grate ½ teaspoon zest from one of the oranges, and set it aside. Cut the peel and the white pith from the oranges. Working over a bowl to catch the juice, cut between the membranes with a small sharp knife to release the segments.

  4. In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the fresh orange juice (reserve the remainder for another use) and the 2 tablespoons reserved fig juices with the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, a grinding of pepper, and the reserved grated zest; whisk to blend.

  5. Gently toss the orange segments, minced onion, and reserved fennel fronds together in a medium bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the dressing and set aside.

  6. Add the salad greens and the fennel slices to the dressing and toss to coat.

  7. Divide the salad among 4 salad plates. Spoon the orange and onion mixture over the salad greens. Halve the figs and distribute them evenly among the plates. Garnish with the onion rings, and serve.

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