Friday, May 15, 2009

Fennel & Olive Salad with Mint and Basil

I review all comments before they go up on the site.  Why?  Well, you'll have to trust me on this one, but suffice it to say that if you write and publish anything, and I do mean anything, someone in the internet world will think they have a right to complain.  

People complain about my using veal. They complain about my using the wrong kinds of fish. They grouse about how much fat is in the recipes. They whine that there isn't enough fat in the recipes.  They kvetch and me using words like kvetch.

Here's one thing I've learned: Somewhere in the world, there's someone who hates everything.

"Why do you cook so much fish? I hate fish!  Except for that, I love your sight, keep up the good work."

"I can't stand broccoli, it smells like my sneakers after a hard day.  Don't make anymore please."

"Why do you use so many exotic ingredients? I live in Upper-Lower-Outer Borneo and it's impossible to find food."

The internet's a squirrely place. 

Well, here's the bad news.  It's my site and I'll fry if I want to, fry if I want to...

One of the biggest complaint generators is fennel.  

"Gawd, I hate fennel. It tastes like licorice; I can't stand licorice."

No it doesn't! In my experience most of the licorice flavor is in the fronds not the main bulb. The flavor seems to intensify if you cook it, but left raw it's got a subtle light flavor that's actually very refreshing.  Kind of like the lemongrass I've been obsessing over lately.

So get over yourselves and try some.  This recipe tastes more of lemons and olives than fennel anyway.  Better still, the recipe is as simple as it gets; it's not cooking, it's slicing and stirring. Fennel & Olive Salad has a lot of flavors going on, BUT NOT LICORICE!  I promise it won't hurt.  I guarantee you will enjoy...

Fennel & Olive Salad with Mint and Basil
from delicious magazine, volume 5 issue 11

2 teaspoons lemon marmalade
Juice of 1 lemon
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
4 ounces pitted black or Nicoise olives, roughly chopped
1 chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
20 basil leaves, thinly sliced
20 mint leaves, thinly sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and lemon marmalade in a large bowl. Stir well.

Add the olives, chile pepper and shaved fennel to the bowl.  Toss well to combine (use your fingers, it works better and it's always fun to play with your food).

Adjust seasoning - be careful, depending on how briny the olives are you may not need to add any salt.

Reserve the herbs as a garnish, sprinkle on just before serving, otherwise the acids in the dressing will turn them black.

Another simple dish by the Crab!  This dish has a pungent, tangy flavor, so serve it with a simple main course.  Bring it along the next time you're invited to a picnic or dinner party. People will think you're an adventurous cook and you might even convert someone into a culinary risk-taker.

See ya next time crablings. Remember, you can do it, you can cook.  


Kerrie said...

I HATE the taste of licorice. You might as well be eating tires in my opinion, because that's what it tastes like. However, I love fennel for some reason, and highly enjoy posts with recipes about fennel. So as long as you don't go crazy on the licorice posts, I'll still come back to your "sight" and enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Where can you find fennel bulb in Ann Arbor? said...

Fennel bulbs are actually quite popular in AA. Kroger, Busch's, Whole Foods, Plum Market, The Produce Station and, in season, the Farmers' Market.