Caramelized Fennel, Leek, and Orange Salad Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: em-i-lis



3 Ratings

  • Serves 4

Jump to Recipe

Author Notes

About 6 months ago, a friend gave me a gorgeous can of sucre roux a la coriandre, a sugar she'd bought at a specialty store in Vancouver. I wasn't totally sure what it was or how to use it, but I was intrigued. Turns out it's a coriander sugar and it's absolutely divine. I created this dish to highlight its flavor but also the ways that it and fennel, leeks and oranges complement each other. This is scrumptious and also beautiful! —em-i-lis

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Em-i-lis is an avid cook who lives in D.C.
WHAT: A warm, composed salad that plays sweet and earthy all at once.
HOW: A little caramelizing, a little sprinkling, some zesting, and you're done!
WHY WE LOVE IT: This is one of the most interesting uses of fennel we know; we see it paired with grilled proteins or as a hearty first-course salad for spring dinner parties. The coriander sugar is an inspired touch, as is the sambuca. (But if you're working in a booze-free kitchen, don't let that stop you!) —The Editors

  • Test Kitchen-Approved
  • Your Best Fennel Contest Winner

What You'll Need

  • 1 tablespoonbutter
  • tablespoonscoriander sugar (or whisk freshly ground coriander with unrefined sugar)
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and pith removed, fruit cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts sliced 1/4-inch thick on the diagonal
  • Ground coriander
  • 1/4 cupsambuca or ouzo
  • Salt and pepper
  • Zest of 1/2 orange, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoonsfennel fronds, chopped or picked, for garnish
  1. In a skillet just large enough to hold your orange slices in one layer, heat the butter. When it’'s melted and is foaming, add the coriander sugar. When that is melted and has started to caramelized, lower heat to medium and add the orange slices. Cook 3 minutes, flip, lower heat to medium-low, cook 2 minutes more, and remove from heat.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat some olive oil (enough to slick the bottom of the pan) over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the fennel and leek slices and sprinkle with ground coriander. Sear for 3 minutes, flip, and add 1/4 Ouzo or Sambuca. Sprinkle somewhat generously with salt and cook 3 minutes more.
  3. Remove the fennel and leeks from the heat and transfer carefully to a serving bowl.Layer the orange slices carefully over them, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and toss the fennel fronds and orange zest over. Serve.


  • Salad
  • Vegetable
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Leek
  • Orange
  • Spring
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Vegetarian
  • Side
Contest Entries
  • Your Best Citrus Recipe
  • Your Best Leeks
  • Your Best Fennel

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • frizz

  • Macky Sumibcay

  • vvvanessa

  • Meatballs&Milkshakes

  • amber wilson | for the love of the south

Popular on Food52

44 Reviews

Shortrib September 6, 2020

Flavours are great! I used pernod thought it worked well. Only comment is that the fennel was still pretty fibrous with this cooking time. Not sure if I would prefer it softer or crisper, so I will experiment further. Sugar and butter for the oranges separated for me, but still very delicious. I will use 2 oranges next time! Thank you for the recipe!

LV January 18, 2016

I did not have Sambuca or Ouzo but the recipe was still delicious. Is there another type of wine or liquor that would work in this recipe?

em-i-lis January 19, 2016

You could try Grand Marnier as it'd be nicely resonant of the oranges. But if you don't have a liquor and you still loved the flavor, keep going with that! :)

I wish the photos transferred with the recipe. Would be nice to have the picture printed with the recipe so I would know how it should look when finished.

frizz December 25, 2013

Absolutely so freaking delicious. I snuck a tiny piece of orange before the salad was complete (cook's prerogative), and it was divine. The coriander is magical. The salad is just divine. My only thought would be to cut the leeks longer and thicker; mine seemed to burn a bit before the fennel had a chance to brown.

em-i-lis December 25, 2013

Thank you so much for writing, frizz! I'm thrilled you enjoyed the salad!! :)

Macky S. May 2, 2013

any meat sugestion for this salad, thanks !!!

em-i-lis May 3, 2013

thank you for your suggestions, suzanne!! this goes well as a side with most anything to be honest. i'd just keep the meat simple.

vvvanessa April 18, 2013

Such a smart recipe! Congrats!

em-i-lis April 18, 2013

thank you so much, vanessa! what a nice note!

April 18, 2013


em-i-lis April 18, 2013

Thank you very much!

fhp April 18, 2013

Emily, my suspicions were right. This salad is utterly delicious and wonderfully original even though it follows a wonderful tradition of flavors. The hint of coriander is really the twist that reveals. Here in Central California the wild fennel is an invasive weed. I think you have just taught me how to embrace it. Thank You.
PS. I've got some fresh sardines. Have you tried the sardine pasta "Best Seafood Pasta" recipe?

em-i-lis April 18, 2013

Thank you!! I'm so happy you already made and tried it!!
I've not tried the sardine pasta- if you go that route for dinner, let me know what you think!

EAW April 17, 2013

You are a win-nah! Boston sends congrats to you. Keep those yummy recipes coming.

em-i-lis April 17, 2013

What a great note! :) Thanks, EAW!

fhp April 17, 2013

Congratulations. I am going to make this today. I have oranges and fennel in the garden and lots of the wild kind for the fronds. What would you suggest about the proportion of ground coriander to sugar as I am going to concoct this one myself?
I'm thinking of serving this with tuna steaks slow poached in olive oil. Thanks for your advice. By the way I looked at all the wonderful recipes you have saved and I think you will be one of my barometers.

em-i-lis April 17, 2013

Thank you so much, fhp. What a flattering, kind note! I would freshly crack whole coriander seeds and maybe start w/ a 1/2 tsp of that. You can always add more when you sprinkle the fennel and leek slices if you find the dish light on coriander flavor. Let me know how it turns out! :)

amber W. April 12, 2013

Congrats on being a finalist! Your recipe looks wonderful!

em-i-lis April 12, 2013

Thank you so much, love of south!!!

Midge April 12, 2013

Sounds absolutely delicious! Big congrats em-i-lis!

em-i-lis April 12, 2013

Thank you so much, Midge!! I really appreciate your note! Rhubarb season is coming- more of your scones! ;)

boulangere April 11, 2013

Em, I am grinning and shouting hurray for seeing your recipe here!

em-i-lis April 11, 2013

Oh, Cyn, you doll. Thank you! :)

Sugartoast April 11, 2013

Congrats, Em. So proud of you :) Love ya!

em-i-lis April 11, 2013

Oh dear, I'm teary. Thank you so much, Sugartoast. xoxo

healthierkitchen April 11, 2013

Yay, Emily! Coriander sugar!!! Sadly, I am the only fennel eater in my house but I will make this for myself someday soon.

em-i-lis April 11, 2013

Sounds like a perfect plan! I never love sharing this. ;)
Thank you, W!!

fiveandspice April 11, 2013

Congratulations Emily! I was lucky enough to get to test this recipe and we loved it! We had it for lunch on Easter before our Easter egg hunt and big Easter supper.

em-i-lis April 11, 2013

Oh wow, Emily, thanks!! I'm so glad you tried and enjoyed it!! Thanks so much!

lapadia April 11, 2013

Congrats, Emily! The photo you posted was so appetizing, I had a good feeling about this :) !!

em-i-lis April 11, 2013

Oh, thank you, L!!! I really appreciate that!

drbabs April 11, 2013

Congratulations on being a finalist, em-i-lis! Such an interesting recipe!

em-i-lis April 11, 2013

Thank you, DrB!!!!

AntoniaJames April 11, 2013

So interesting! Congrats, em-i-lis. ;o)

em-i-lis April 11, 2013

Thank you so much, AJ! It's been a family fave for a while now!

Bevi April 11, 2013

Congrats Em-i-lis! I figured this would be in the mix!

em-i-lis April 11, 2013

Oh, thank you, Bevi! That is so kind of you. :)

Caramelized Fennel, Leek, and Orange Salad Recipe on Food52 (2024)
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