Mercato Albinelli in Modena, Italy -  so far, my favourite food market ever! We went there on the morning of my birthday to buy fresh pasta and ingredients for dinner that evening. We bought radicchio and blood oranges, perfect Winter produce, and tossed them together with the freshest, crunchiest rucola and shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano - delizioso!

It was perfect alongside our pasta dish and I couldn't wait to replicate it at home, only this time I added some raw marinated fennel and a balsamic maple dressing.

Buon Appetito!

Serves 4-6, side dish


  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of rucola
  • 1 small radicchio
  • 1 - 2 blood oranges
  • Salt & black pepper

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt

First you want to marinate the fennel; after washing, chop off the stalks and using a pair of scissors, carefully cut the fronds and leave to one side. Cut the bum off of the bulb and stand the fennel upright. Slice in half and discard the outer layer, which should fall away by itself. Then using a mandoline if you have one, slice the fennel - the thickness is really up to you but I like it very thin or about 1/2cm thick - and place in a shallow bowl. Add the lemon juice, oil, some salt and pepper and massage the fennel until coated. Leave to sit for as long as you can wait...anywhere between 10 mins - 2 hours!

Meanwhile, prepare the radicchio by discarding the outer layers and peel away the leaves, tearing into whatever size and shape you prefer. Peel the blood orange and cut into small cubes, discarding the bitter white pith as you go. 

For the dressing, combine the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and salt in a jar and shake well. Taste and adjust for seasoning if necessary and if you prefer it sweeter, just add a little more maple syrup (NB: you can always substitute the maple syrup with honey).

Once the fennel is ready, toss all ingredients together in a large bowl and drizzle over the balsamic maple dressing. Finish with the fennel fronds and if you like, shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano.