I’m a sometimes-fan of raucous saturated vibrant in-your-face wild and wonderful jungle colors. But there’s something so gently sweet, so calm and mild about April’s green that fills me with a quiet contented peace. I love it when a color can do that.
Things have been busy around here, and are about to get noisy and busier still. I’m a creature of habit. I reach for things in certain places and expect to find them there. I’m trying to ready myself for many of the common little things in my life trading places with each other ~ and for flying by the seat of my pants ~ and for setting aside comfortable knowns for “I wonder where?”s. I’ll explain in a post coming soon. For now, I’m quite content to feast on nearly-April’s quiet. Of course, no sooner do I say that than I realize this isn’t just about me…but generally this blog does tend to be about what we eat around here. I hope you’re alright with that…I haven’t discovered a better way.
Last night I pulled some of those pale greens and creamy whites from the fridge and they became our salad. It was good enough to fix again for my lunch today, and even so good as to make me want to share it with you. So, here you are…
A salad of shaved fennel bulb – crisp and with its tinge of licorice-ness ~ thinly sliced apple, crisp and tartly sweet ~ Romaine lettuce, crisp and clean ~ (you’re getting the idea) ~ very thinly sliced red onion, just a touch to add a gentle bite (more like a friendly nip) ~ and shavings of fairly smoky, salty pecorino Romano cheese. Tossed in a bright vinaigrette ~ flavored with a just touch of roasted and crushed fennel seeds. Scatter a shower of a few more toasted fennel seeds on top if you like.
Fennel & Apple Green Salad with shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese
- ½ of a large head of romaine lettuce
- ½ apple – fresh, crisp and tart
- ½ medium to large fennel bulb – stalks removed
- about ¼ red onion, very thinly sliced (you could replace with green onion if you like)
- Pecorino Romano Cheese – shaved – in whatever quantity pleases you
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ teaspoon sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar of your choice – not balsamic)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds (dry roasted in a small skillet over medium low heat) – OPTIONAL – if you’d like a scattering of toasty fennel seeds on top your dressed salad, roast up to 1 teaspoon of seeds, grinding half for the dressing and scattering the rest whole
Prepare the vinaigrette in a small jar by adding all dressing ingredients, shake, and set aside for flavors to blend.
Slice a head of romaine lettuce lengthwise. Lop off the bottom inch or so. Chop the half-head in 1-inch slices. Then, wash and dry. (Salad spinners come in awfully handy for a job like this. Or simply wrap the leaves gently in several kitchen towels and pat to absorb excess water.) Put back in the fridge to keep cool.
Prepare the fennel – remove the stalks and either discard or set aside for another purpose. Or save some of the delicate fronds for garnish or to toss into the salad. I forgot to. Slice the bulb in half from top to base. Using a very sharp knife or mandolin, slice half the fennel bulb in very thin slices. Add to a salad bowl.
Prepare the apple – cut in half. Core and thinly slice. Add to salad bowl.
Onion – if using red onion, slice paper-thin. Add to bowl. If using green onion, slice into narrow rounds.Toss the fennel, apple and onion in the vinaigrette. Allow to sit five minutes. Then add the romaine and toss. Scatter with toasted fennel seeds if desired.
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