After having a meat marathon on a recent trip to NYC and the memories of overcooked fatty meat of Virginia I had been needing some meat detox. Add to that the 75 degree weather we have been having and salad was the answer.
Growing up I hated black licorice with a passion. Which was a sad thing as sweets except for ice cream (allowed since my mother was convinced our bones would break from a lack of calcium, were pretty absent in our house). Some how only the worst candies were in our house. Hard candies that seemed if they were made stale and lacking in flavour or odd textured soft candy with flavours like anise or licorice.
So with my hate for licorice I avoided fennel for most of my adult life until I went to a restaurant on Capital Hill in Seattle three years ago. There I had a salad that changed my mind about fennel forever. I had a radish and fennel salad with geoduck. The geoduck was a throwaway ingredient but the crispness of the salad and the flavour of the fennel was so satisfying.
My version is probably simpler than the one I had but I like it. I often add other ingredients based on what’s in my crisper or what fruit is ripe.
Fennel and Radish Citrus Salad
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed
1 bunch of pink radishes
1 bunch of red radishes
optional herbs, mint or basil
With a mandolin or food processor, thinly slice the fennel and the radishes, it’s fine if the slices aren’t perfect but you do want them thin and then mix the slices together. Break the oranges into segments and then cut the segments in half. Juice or ream the juice of the lemon and pour it over the radishes and the fennel and add the oranges. the citrus from the oranges and the lemon are a bright contrast to the licorice flavour of the fennel and the soft texture of the orange is a nice contrast to the crispness of the radishes and the fennel. You can add fresh mint or basil to add another element of flavour.
This salad is crispest in the first couple of hours but can last for a week.