This is a guest post from my friend Hannah, a fellow foodie and lover of earthy things. She's got so much creative energy I can hardly stand it, and she's another one of those rare people who will geek out about vegetables and dirt and nutrition with me. You can visit her over at her blog www.landfoodlife.com. Thanks Hannah!
While I profess to love vegetables, there are some that I would never buy for myself. And for better or for worse, those very vegetables regularly turn up in my CSA share from Mhonpaj's Garden. Last week it was fennel.
they look so relaxed
Fennel's strong licorice flavor of has never pleased me. The last time I had to prepare its swollen leaf base, I roasted it with a mess of other vegetables for a Build-Your-Own-Pizza dinner.
that fennel in the upper right corner looks appetizing, does it not?
But it just could not compete with the other, far more delicious options, and was tough to boot. So when I got four bulbs in the last delivery, I sighed, and asked my sister-in-law if she wanted some. "I'm not sure," she said. "If you can tell me of a good way to make it, sure. My previous experiences with it left a lot to be desired."
Those words inspired me to take up the gauntlet once again. Luckily, a relative had sent me a copy of Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without, which has several intriguing fennel recipes. I picked the only one without citrus (!), made a few modifications, and served it up.
"This is really good," my dinner partner said. Not once, not twice, but three times he gave this approbation.
I liked it, too. Crunchy, salty, savory, and sweet, this salad has it all.
fennel salad with apples, figs, and cheese
Fall Fennel Salad
adapted from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Recipes I Can't Live Without
Yield: 4 servings.
2 fennel bulbs, very thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
scant 1/2 cup kalamata olives, quartered
6 dried Black Mission figs, slivered
1 Cortland apple, very thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 T olive oil
1+ T apple cider vinegar
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup sliver almonds, toasted
1/4 cup shaved Romano cheese
In a medium-sized bowl, toss together the fennel, olives, figs, and apples. Drizzle in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar and toss until everything is coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss again. Taste, adjust the flavors, then cover and refrigerate up to one hour.
Just before serving, sprinkle some more apple cider vinegar to taste and add the almonds and cheese shavings. Toss lightly but thoroughly, and serve immediately.