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This tangy and refreshing rice salad is a perfect way to welcome spring. Simple to assemble and served at room temperature, this dish will be wonderful at your next lunch or afternoon picnic. I used white basmati rice for this version but I am sure brown rice or even quinoa would also be delicious with this recipe.
Toast fennel seeds in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Add rice and return to a boil, then cook, covered, over low heat until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 18-20 minutes. Spread rice out on a shallow baking sheet and let cool.
Meanwhile grate the zest from 2 oranges into a large bowl and squeeze the juice from 1 1/2 oranges. Whisk in white wine vinegar, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper. Set aside.
Chop 2 tablespoons fronds from fennel, then discard stalks. Half the fennel bulb and thinly slice on a mandoline. If you don’t have a mandoline, thinly slice with a knife. Add the sliced fennel and chopped fennel fronds to the bowl of dressing. Mix to coat. Add the cooled rice and scallions. Stir to combine. Taste. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Enjoy!