created: 2004-07-21 18:33:31
This is adapted from a salad I ate once at a small Italian restaurant in Chicago. There seem to be some fennel fans among your contributors, so it seemed a good addition….but I also suggest this as a good one to try if you are trying to convert anyone to fennel, or have a fennel first-timer on your hands. I have been told this is a good wooing salad as well. The proportion of fennel to celery to apple can evolve according to taste...especially as they all vary widely in size. I’d say 2 parts fennel to 1 part celery to .5 part apple is a good rule. This serves anywhere from 2 (main meal component) to 6 people (very politely-sized starter.)
2 medium sized fennel bulbs 4-5 good-sized stalks celery (neither should be TOO gigantic because they can get tough) at least half a green apple, skin on chunk of decent parmesan 2 lemons good extra virgin olive oil freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste Remove the green stalks of the fennel, if they’re still on, and wash the bulbs well as they can be sandy. Chop the bulbs into 1-3 inch long shards… on the diagonal---easiest if you do it sort of roughly, unfussily. Put in a large bowl. Now cut the celery stalks lengthwise and slice them quite acutely on the diagonal, Asian-style, so they look similar to the fennel shards. Add to bowl as you do each one and mix with your hands…see if you want to add more or less. Cut the apple in half and cut halves into slim, imprecise chips---skin end thicker-- and add. Mix again. This is the secret ingredient. It should be just visible, but not too obvious. Many people won’t see it or know what they’re tasting until you tell them, depending on how thin the chips are. Cut up lemons and methodically squeeze as much of the juice and pulp over the vegetables as you can. Mix with your hands. Now add about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and do it again. Add salt and pepper and mix again, and add more oil if you want. Mound onto plates and, with a paring knife or vegetable peeler, generously garnish with a large curls of parmesan. Serve. This is great to pair with heavier or spicy dishes, and is delicious the next day.