Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fennel & Summer-Tomato Salad

I hate Twizzlers. I hate licorice. I hate those little anise seeds that Indian restaurants always have as a palate cleanser in a big bowl by the door. Therefore, I hate fennel... or so I thought!

My family recently went to Lumière for my mother's birthday. The food was out of control - as locally grown/raised as they could get - and ridiculously tasty. I told our waiter that I was vegan and he said the kitchen would make me a vegan appetizer and entree, which meant that the chefs got to go crazy with whatever they wanted to make. It was SO good. Anyway... the amuse bouche was a simple shaved fennel salad. It was thinly sliced, used the fennel frawns, and definitively changed my mind about fennel.

This Fennel & Summer Tomato Salad is so simple, quick, clean, and scrumptious! The lemon mellows out the anise flavor of the fennel. Barely a handful of ingredients, and gosh darn good looking! Dishes like this reaffirm my belief that fresh ingredients prepared simply to compliment and enhance their natural flavor make the best meals.

1 bulb fennel
2 heirloom tomatoes
Cherry or grape tomatoes
1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Wash the fennel. Cut out the core of the bulb and thinly slice the bulb, stalks, and fronds.
2. Zest and juice one lemon. Toss the fennel, zest, and juice with a glug of good olive oil and a pinch of salt.
3. When you're ready to serve the salad, slice the heirloom and cherry tomatoes. Arrange the fennel on each plate, top with tomatoes, drizzle the tomatoes with more olive oil and salt.
4. Devour.

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