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:

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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.

2 comments:

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.