Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fennel, Apple, and Clementine Salad

I bought a bulb of fennel a while ago with no goal in mind. It was still lurking in my fridge last night, smelling suspiciously of licorice, when the Human Vacuum came up with a genius plan for dinner: Buca di Beppo takeout. He called for spaghetti and meatballs while I googled a salad. Here's what I made up, after examining numerous time-consuming alternatives for fennel preparation online:

Fennel, Apple, and Clementine Salad with Toasted Sesame Oil

Peel, core, and thinly slice:
One bulb of fennel
I'd never prepared fennel before, so I needed a little more instruction than most recipes provide. Here's what I did:
1) Cut off the celery-esque tops
2) Use a paring knife to remove the outer layer of the bulb (say, 1/4 inch all around)
3) Cut in half. There will be a dense, opaque core visible. Remove the whole thing--it's hard and bitter.
4) Thinly slice what's left and dump it into a bowl. You'll know you got all of the core out if the layers of the fennel slices fall apart on their own.

Peel, core, and dice:
One red apple
If you can't cut up an apple, you need more remedial culinary education than I am willing to provide in this recipe.

Peel and section:
3 clementines
You could substitute any orange-like product here, of course.

Combine fruit in a bowl. In a separate container, whisk together:
balsamic vinegar
olive oil

a few drops toasted sesame oil
a few drops soy sauce

Proportion the oil and vinegar to your taste, I usually go with 3 parts oil to 2 parts vinegar, for a total of about 2 tablespoons dressing.

Pour over fruit, toss, and leave to marinate while you go to pick up the best meatballs ever.


mzn said...

What did you think? I'm on the fence about raw fennel. I think I like it best very thinly sliced. My preference is to cook it, though, caramelized like onions.

Katherine said...

Not bad--more crunch than flavor, actually. Next time I'd cook it your way, but I was looking for a quick veggie fix this time, so raw was the way to go.