Fennel is a newer vegetable in our repertoire of ingredients. We’ve always put it in our cioppino, but we’ve been experimenting with other ways to use it recently. A few weeks ago we came across some beautiful fennel on sale at the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market, so we stocked up. We intended to make it into a fennel gratin, but with the warm weather lately, a salad seemed more appealing. We also love to grill lemons, so we made a shaved fennel salad with grilled lemon and shallot dressing. We loved this salad so much that we used it as part of the rustic Italian dinner party we planned last week. You can see other items from the party menu here, here, and here.
This salad is extremely simple and comes together really quickly if you have a grill and a mandoline.
To grill the lemons, cut the lemons in half and put them cut-side down on a hot grill. Let them cook until the cut side is charred and they are warmed through. This gives the lemons a richer and slightly less acidic flavor. Let the lemons cool, then squeeze and strain the juice. This can be done ahead of time. If you don’t have a grill, you can always put it on a grill pan or cast iron skillet.
The dressing is very simple. Just mix half lemon juice and olive oil with salt, pepper, a few drops of dijon mustard, and a finely minced shallot. We use a small mason jar to shake the dressing. These jars are also useful for a lot of other small kitchen tasks.
Assembling the salad is a breeze. Shave the fennel bulbs into extremely thin slices on a mandoline. Do the same with a red onion. Toss with fresh greens and dressing and serve. Garnish with fennel fronds.
- Lemon, cut in half
- Olive oil
- Dijon mustard
- Shallot, minced
- Fennel, shaved
- For Dressing: Put lemons cut-side down on a hot grill. Let them cook until the cut side is charred and they are warmed through. Mix half lemon juice and olive oil with salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and a finely minced shallot.
- In a large bowl, toss fennel, lettuce, and dressing until just coated.