At the Farm to Preschool market yesterday, one of the moms pointed at this weirdly shaped vegetable asking what it is and what to do with it:
Fennel is a bulb shaped vegetable that, when eaten raw, is fresh, crispy and has a anise flavor. You can also cook it (braising is a popular way of preparing them), but that is not my personal favorite way of eating it…
So when Denison Farm brought us fennel leftover from the market last night, I immediately tought of making my father’s Tunisian Fennel Salad. Fennel originated in the Mediterranean and marries well with the olive oil and lemon typically used in Tunisian salad dressings (and as you will notice, in most of my cooking).
Fennel comes with branches and leaves that look like dill but taste like anise. These are edible, but for this recipe I only used the bulb. I think it comes from my family’s tradition of snacking on the branches while cooking…
After trimming both sides of the fennel and removing the damaged outer parts, I cut in in quarters and removed the core. This part can be really hard and unpleasant to eat.
Than I diced it. Perfection is not required here.
In a salad bowl, I added some lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper and salt and mixed well. I prefer to use extra-virgin olive oil (always) but we were out so I used what I had on hand.
You can eat it right away but if you have time, put it the fridge for an hour, it will be so nice and fresh, a perfect appetizer for a hot summer day!
Tunisian Fennel Salad
2 bulb fennel
Juice of 1 big lemon or 2 small, or more to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Trim, core and dice the fennel into ¼ inch pieces. Season with lemon, olive, salt and pepper.
Optionally, refrigerate for about an hour.