01 09 10

search you little tarte

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fun with Fennel

Fennel is a misunderstood vegetable.  First of all, it's a little off putting in its appearance.  It kind of has a bulb and then the fronds, which look a little like dill but taste nothing like dill.  Let's just say that fennel is not a beautiful vegetable.  Like the artichoke, you have to really commend the people who first ate fennel.  It just doesn't really look like something you can eat.

But you can eat fennel and it's very delicious.  I especially like raw fennel in summertime salads.  It's got an anise flavor and a lot of crunch.  I love crunch.  It mixes well with citrus and holds its crunchiness even after it's been doused in salad dressing.

There are lots of other things you can do with fennel.  It's very nice sauteed and then used as part of a gratin with potatoes.  It's also nice in stews.  I don't think I'd just grab a fennel bulb and take a bite au natural, but, as I said, it's particularly tasty in salads.

This particular salad, with arugula and oranges, is so delicious.  It's got the peppery taste from the arugula, the anise flavor from the fennel, and the sweetness from the oranges.  Finish it off with a little lemon vinaigrette and you have a salad that's sure to please.  You could even top it all off with a grilled chicken breast and you would have a perfect ladies who lunch salad.

This salad is so delicious that I suspect you'll make it again and again over the summer.  Fennel is fun.

Recipe:  Orange Fennel Salad
(Ina Garten)

Note:  I used a mandoline to cut the fennel.


2 pounds fennel bulbs
3 to 4 oranges
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces arugula


Cut the fronds from the fennel bulbs and reserve some of the feathery leaves for later.  Cut each fennel bulb in half and remove the cores with a sharp knife.

Fit a food processor with the thinnest slicing blade.  Cut the fennel bulbs into wedges and place horizontally in the feed tube.  Process in batches.  (Or you can use a mandoline to slice the fennel.)  Peel each orange, remove the pith with a knife, and slice.  Set aside.

For the dressing:

Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Place the fennel slices, orange slices, and arugula in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss together.  Sprinkle with salt and add some fennel fronds for decoration.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely adore fennel Nadine. Especially roasted with vidalia onions. I will certainly be saving this link. I have never tried it in an orange salad. It sounds so yummy I wish I could make it right now!!!

    I'm in Idaho visiting the grandkids for Easter but I will be sure and bookmark this when I return.

    Thank you so much for sharing...