Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Summer Salad #2: Fennel and Celery

I'm not a fan of kitchen gadgets. I have my knives, my pots, a vegetable peeler and a blender and that's pretty much all I need.  I resist buying gadgets because I don't like cluttering up my kitchen with a lot of stuff that has only one use - I spent years making toast in the oven until I broke down and bought a toaster. 

But every know and then, there is a tool that does something so well, that it's worth giving up the cabinet space. I speak of the mandoline. Lethally sharp, and an incredibly efficient way of creating a lot of thin slices quickly. Someday, my knife skills will be on a par with Martin Yan's; I'll be able to butcher a chicken in under a minute and I won't need a mandoline, but until then, it's a great tool to have.

This salad is easy, fast (thanks to the mandoline) has great crunch and like last week, features under appreciated vegetables. Fennel, which is usually served cooked with other things, and celery, a vegetable that deserves better than being a mere garnish for Buffalo wings.

4 stalks of celery in under a minute - mandolines rock!
My only complaint about this salad is that it lacks color. Fennel is white and celery is pale green. It does not make for a colorful presentation. But the flavor is far from colorless. The fennel and the celery complement each other beautifully, and the lemon juice gives it zing. So serve it with a red steak and enjoy!

Fennel and Celery Salad
makes 4 servings 

2 bulbs fennel
3-4 stalks celery
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Parmesan (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)

1. Trim the fennel so it's just the bulb and slice it thinly on the mandoline.
2. Trim the leafy bits off the celery and slice it on the mandoline.
3. Combine the fennel and celery in a bowl. 
4. In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. You might try dipping a piece of fennel in the dressing to make sure the salt level is where you want it. 
5. Put the dressing on the salad and serve. Garnish with parmesan curls if you feel like dressing it up.

Note: Do not put the dressing on the salad until just before serving. If you leave it on too long, the lemon juice wilts the veggies and they become limp.

No comments:

Post a Comment