Madame Editor came over for a dinner last Friday night.
It’s always fun to enjoy the company of one of your oldest friends, who willingly eats your food as you ramble on and on about recipes and blogging. You know that she proof reads all of my posts, right? We’re like a tag team. Madame was an English major back in college and has a meticulous eye for detail. How she hasn’t clobbered me over the head by now for abusing the use of commas and exclamation points is completely and utterly beyond me. But needless to say, that’s what friends are for.
Friends also tell you like it is-
When I mentioned a marinated fennel + tomato salad, she looked at me with trepidation… raw fennel?
I empathized with said trepidation, as raw fennel used to freak me out as a kid; my Italian family would cut it into thick slices and eat it before and after a meal, plain. I was told that it was good for the digestion (I couldn’t stand it). Now, in my mature days I have reneged my position because raw fennel is quite tasty when thinly sliced and drenched in lemon and olive oil. Then again, what isn’t tasty drenched in lemon and olive oil? My point exactly.
Here, I toss shaved fennel with juicy, sun gold tomatoes and torn black olives. Sprigs of fresh oregano are used to flavor the salad, but removed right before serving as they tend to be on the pungent side. The salad marinates for about a half hour so that all of the flavors can do their thing. It is a refreshing combination of crunchy, salty, and sweet.
Madame Editor gave the nod of approval as she ate, proclaiming that raw fennel wasn’t as ‘aggressive’ as she thought it would be. Good word, right? So true. The inherent liquorice flavor mellows as it marinates with the rest of the ingredients. We ate this with crusty bread, carefully mopping up the golden juices that had pooled at the bottom of the bowl. We also added feta. You don’t see that pictured here because I was informed that I use feta in everything.
Go on, tell it like it is.
- The best way to achieve thinly sliced fennel is to use either a mandolin or a food processor fitted with the slicer blade.
- Sun gold tomatoes are an exceptional variety of cherry tomatoes. They are remarkably sweet. You could also substitute with regular or heirloom cherry tomatoes.
- The key to this vegetable salad is to add salt. It draws out moisture creating an incredible juice when combined with olive oil, lemon, and tomatoes.
- 1 baby fennel (or ½ regular bulb), fronds reserved
- 1 pint sun gold cherry tomatoes
- ½ c. pitted Kalamata olives
- 3 fresh oregano sprigs
- 1 lemon
- olive oil
- salt + pepper
- crumbled feta (optional)
- crusty bread, to serve
- Thinly slice the fennel. You can use either a mandolin or food processor fitted with the slicer blade.
- Slice the tomatoes in half.
- Tear the olives into bite-sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, add the fennel, tomatoes, olives, and oregano springs.
- Add the juice of one lemon and drizzle with olive oil to coat.
- Add a large pinch of salt and toss gently to combine.
- Chill or allow to sit at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes; the longer it sits the more concentrated the flavors will be.
- Right before serving, taste the salad and adjust with extra seasoning, lemon, and olive oil. Remove the oregano sprigs.
- Garnish with the reserved fennel fronds and feta (if using).
- Enjoy with good, crusty bread.