All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Sunday, January 31, 2016

crunchy fennel, celery, and parsley salad with balsamic dressing

A week under the covers (and under the weather), nursing a headache and ringing ears.  Enforced resting is hard for me  - I'd much rather be taking walks in the fresh air, so by the third day I was bored.  I re-read all my Ann Patchett books, then John Irving's Cider House Rules, which led me to several of Lee Bailey's cook/travel books, which were stuffed into the same shelf.  I've forgotten how much I love his straightforward, unfussy recipes, and how pretty the photographs are of his travels.  I browsed through his Cooking for Friends, and came across a fennel salad I haven't made in years.  My daughter looked at the photograph and mentioned she still remembered when I used to make that salad, and how much she loved it - that was many, many years ago.

Walking to the store today, what did I find in the produce section but fresh fennel bulbs, waving their fronds at me, so of course, I came home and made that salad again.  Crunchy, delicious, with a warm, mellow afterglow, it was as good as I remembered.  A few times I also threw in some fresh orange pieces, I recall, and just might do that tomorrow, inspired by his other fennel salad recipe, with olives and oranges.

Crunchy Fennel Salad (with parsley and celery)

1 medium fresh fennel bulb
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 to 1 cup minced Italian parsley
Shaved good Parmesan cheese

Halve the fennel bulb.  If the stems are wide, cut them lengthwise in half.   Slice the fennel stems across into manageable pieces, like you do with celery.  Cut out the little core at the bottom of the bulb, which is too hard to chew.

Balsamic dressing:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
two pinches kosher salt
5 tablespoons good olive oil
black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Whisk the dressing well in your salad bowl, then add the fennel, celery, and parsley and toss.   Spoon onto plates and garnish with the parmesan shavings.

This makes about four servings.

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