F is for Fennel

What? You were expecting maybe, French toast and Flapjacks? Fettuccine Alfredo? Fried Chicken? Well, I thought about it, but after all that rich and gooey Comfort Food, I decided it’s time for something a bit lighter. ;-D

So, F is for FENNEL.

Specifically, Fennel Apple Slaw.

fennel slaw [251x174]

I’m not a big licorice fan, so a little fennel goes a long way for me. I love it in this salad – it’s crispy and refreshing and very tasty. It goes well with many dishes, including skillet grilled salmon (which is on the menu for tonight’s supper, coincidentally!)

And it’s very simple to make.

For 2-4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced crosswise, plus some (about a tablespoon) fennel fronds chopped; reserve some fronds for garnish.
  • 1 firm, crisp apple (Gala or Granny Smith), julienned
  • 1/4 medium cabbage, sliced thinly (about 1-2 cups)

fennel whole 1[154x226]fennel slicesfennel apples julienne [259x165]fennel red cabbage [167x140]fennel cabbage sliced [204x135]

If I’m making just a couple of servings, I slice by hand. I like a lot of crumch in my slaw, so I don’t worry about getting it paper thin. When I’m preparing enough to take to a pot luck or a picnic, I might get out the mandoline or the Cuisinart

. fennel mandoline [236x163]

Dressing:

  • about 2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil [I like my oil and vinegar about equal, b/c I prefer my dressings more tart and less oily. Add more oil to suit your taste]
  • 1- 1/2  Tbl apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon [Or a large pinch of dried tarragon, according to taste. If you’re not a fan of tarragon, substitute dill or parsley]
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice  [Do I ever cheat and use some RealLemon? Yes, I do.]
  • a smidge of sugar – a teensy pinch (I’ve never measured, but it’s less than  1/8th tsp)  It helps bring out the sweetness of the apple

Whisk the oil, vinegar, herbs, lemon juice, and sugar in a bowl.

Add the celery, fennel, and apple.

Toss well to coat with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add fronds as a pretty garnish. Eat. Enjoy. 😀

This is a very adaptable recipe. You can use more or less cabbage, green or red, or skip the cabbage and just add more fennel.

fennel slaw [254x210]

You can add chopped walnuts like a Waldorf salad for even more crunch.

Add a teaspoon of poppy seeds or caraway seeds to the dressing, or if you love the flavor of licorice, try some toasted anise seeds.

If you prefer a creamier dressing, use a mixture of equal parts low-fat Greek style yogurt or low fat sour cream, low fat mayo, and buttermilk.  Or go nuts and use regular mayo!

(Actually I find the low-fat mayo is fine, and don’t notice any real difference to the regular. But I avoid the fat free because it just seems dangerously unreal ;-p)

Experiment, play around with it. You’ll find a version that will become your favorite and may be surprised at how often you toss this salad together for picnics, parties, a light lunch, or a nice dinner side dish.

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