Sometimes it's the simplest things that can give you enjoyment. Spending a day on the beach, going crabbing, watching fireworks. All of these things are part of summer and are simple pleasures.
Our 4th of July weekend was filled with all of these simple pleasures. We also enjoyed several meals that were what I'd call "vacation indulgences. So, after a weekend of indulging, I was craving something a bit different with dinner on Monday night.
I wanted a side dish that was a salad with some crunch. When I was perusing the produce at a local market, I saw fennel bulbs and decided I would make a salad from them. I remember a friend of mine making a shaved fennel salad to accompay a meal a few years back and I really loved the flavor.
Not everyone likes fennel (or anise)... it has that black licorice flavor, which can be a bit strong for some people. I happen to like it, and it appears My Oldest does as well. I love that he's willing to try things like this - if only to see what it tastes like so he can decide if he likes it or not for next time. He is also the one who loves blue cheese. My Youngest was not quite as willing, but that's ok... I'll keep working on him.
I shaved the fennel bulbs using my mandoline. If you don't have one, just slice them thinly. I added some sliced apples as well. When it came to a dressing, I went to Twitter to get recommendations. FoodHuntersGuide was quick to respond with a simple suggestion: olive oil and lemon juice. Perfect!
I took that suggestion and added just enough to lightly coat the fennel and apple slices. After a few minutes, I did a taste test and added just a bit of salt. One more taste test and a teaspoon of sugar was the final addition.
There is no actual recipe for this one, but rather a taste and season as you go. It's a nice crisp salad with a touch of sweetness that compliments the flavor of the fennel. What recipes do you make that go by taste or feel rather than a recipe?
Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use something please ask first.