Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Fennel Slaw with Dried Cranberries & Almonds

We finally have been able to grow some decent fennel this year. The change is that it was in a bed getting automatic irrigation, so in spite of the heat and drought it did okay and actually sized up before bolting. Not that it isn't starting to bolt, but the bulbs are at least mostly large enough to use. I guess that's the secret to growing good fennel - rich soil, moderate temperatures and lots of moisture, none of which happen easily around here.

We really enjoyed it in this simple sweet and spicy coleslaw style salad. It went well with our pork roast last week, and this week I made it again and ate it with spaghetti. It would also be good with chicken or fish. 

4 to 6 servings
20 minutes prep time - 1 hour or more to rest

Make the Dressing:
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce
OR equivalent of very finely minced fresh hot chile
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
the juice of 1/2 lemon (1/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey

Mix the above ingredients in a small bowl or jar and stir until the honey is dissolved. You can heat it for a few seconds in the microwave if that helps. If you use a fresh chile, be sure to wear gloves while you mince it. 

Make the Salad:
3 cups (450 grams, 1 pound) thinnly sliced fennel
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Trim the stems and root end off the fennel bulbs - you will need 2 or 3 of them. Lay them down and cut them in half from top to bottom. If the centre cores are tough, remove them. Turn the pieces so the flat sides are on the cutting board, and cut them very thinnly.

Toss the finely sliced fennel pieces with the dressing and let rest in a cool spot or the refrigerator for about 1 hour before serving. Toss in the cranberries and almonds just before serving.

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