There is only one way to get paper-thin slices of fennel and that is with a mandoline slicer – most good kitchen shops and online suppliers offer this very simple tool that is perfect for home cooks, so there is no excuse not to have one. The skinniness does more than improve the look; with fennel it also enhances the taste. There is something superbly delicate about see-through shreds of fennel that is completely different from when it's chopped.
A pinch of freshly ground star anise
2 blood oranges
1 large fennel bulb, with fronds, thinly sliced with a mandoline
40g fresh dill, roughly chopped
1 tbsp Nigella seeds or whole dill seeds
60g feta cheese, crumbled
60g whole almonds, roasted
A good handful of mustard cress
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
● First make the star anise powder by placing a small handful of whole star anise in a spice grinder or high speed blender and pulverising until it becomes a smooth powder.
● Keep unused powder in a sealed container in a dark place.
● Trim away the top and bottom of the orange. Slice off the skin, including the white pith, and discard.
● Gently separate the orange segments from the membrane.
● Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a big bowl.
● Mix with your hands, massaging gently, then mound on a platter.
● Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve at room temperature.
Chris Honor is the chef/owner of Chriskitch in Muswell Hill, London. Recipe from Big Flavours from a Small Kitchen, Octopus Books, £25