Fennel’s most common inclusion seems to be in salads. Its crispy texture and light flavor makes it an absolutely perfect salad component and it would be an insult to fennel week to not showcase the potential of a fennel salad. However, both my boyfriend and I are sort of picky about salads. I don’t like salads with huge tomato chunks or lettuce that is mostly from the heart. My boyfriend simply thinks salads are boring. Don’t get us wrong! We have enjoyed our fair share of salads when we go out to eat, but its extremely rare we prepare them at home.
Recipe #8: Mango and Fennel Salad with Fennel Frond Pesto
& Recipe #9: Fennel, Pear, and Minted Pea Salad
Every other week GreenMade will be featuring a new vegetable and a number of recipes starring it. For the premiere week of “Make a New Vegetable Friend,” GreenMade is showcasing Fennel!
The other dishes we made with fennel this week were: Fennel and Apple Galette, Roasted Fennel and Fennel Chips, Fennel Mint Tea, Roasted Fennel Soup, Fennel Sweet Potato Beet Juice, and Candied Fennel Upside Down Lemon Cake.
Since I was not about to toss some fennel on a bed of romaine knowing that neither of us would enjoy it, I sought out two recipes that used fennel creatively and also gave off a summer vibe. It just so happened that the day I made them it was beautiful and sunny, and eating our wonderfully summery salads made us feel like it was the early days of our courtship! We also ate them with BBQ chicken, so that helped with the summer feeling quite a bit.
My boyfriend preferred the mango fennel salad, stating it was the perfect combo of soft with crunchy, and sweet with salty. He really enjoyed the dressing, and requested I remake it for future salads!
The fennel, pear, and minted pea salad was also amazing. The pears were not too sweet, but a wonderful texture and the combination of mint and peas made me nuts! It was so good! I loved the simple dressing of minted red wine vinegar.
Mango and Fennel Salad with Fennel Frond Pesto
1 bulb fennel with fronds
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1 small garlic clove, grated
juice of one lemon
6 tbsp olive oil
2 large or 3 small ripe mangoes
coarse salt to taste
1. Disconnect bulb from fennel stalks. Remove feathery fronds from the fennel stalks until you have approximately 1 – 2 cups. Chop fronds roughly.
2. In a food processor, combine, with a few pulses, the fronds, ginger, garlic, and lemon juice. With the motor still running, add the olive oil until thoroughly combined. Scrape pesto into a small bowl.
3. Slice fennel bulb into small strips. Peel mango and also slice into small strips. Put two items into a medium bowl and then add as much pesto as desired. Serve with coarse salt.
Recipe will stay delicious for 1-2 days if kept covered in the refrigerator.
Fennel, Pear, and Minted Pea Salad
From 44 Cookham Road
Serves 4 – 8 (made waaay too much for 2!)
1 large fennel bulb fronds removed
2 green Bosc pears
1/2 red onion
1 cup fresh peas
120 g of baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves finely chopped
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1. Place a small pot of water on high heat and bring to the boil. Blanch the peas in the boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and plunge into ice cold water to refresh. Once cooled, drain the peas and add the red wine vinegar and mint, stir carefully to combine.
2. Halve the fennel and onion and slice as thinly as possible. Quarter the pear and do the same. Having a mandolin would be beneficial!
3. Drain peas from the mint and red wine vinegar, reserving the liquid. Toss spinach, fennel, pears, onions, and peas together in a large bowl. Serve with reserved minted red wine vinegar.
I refrigerated it over night and the next day the spinach was wilty and the peas were discolored (the pea color my be because they were frozen peas :/). If I was going to make this again and store it, I would have combined the fennel, onions and the pears, kept the minted vinegar and spinach separate, and blanched peas fresh each time I wanted to eat it. That sort of extra work would be absolutely worth it! This salad is amazing.
Note: Usually when I make something in my kitchen I cannot help but seek out two or more recipes and combine them, or make some sort of modification that I think will make them better. However, in the case of these two salads, the only modifications I made were based on what I was able to procure, and they did, in no way, make either fennel salad better. The modifications did not make them bad in any stretch of the imagination, but gosh I wish I had been able to slice my veggies thinner, or had fresh peas. In any case, the recipes listed above are reprints from the original (with the additions I used. As always, I have included the site where I got them, but this time I do not feel like they are adaptations at all. I have rewritten the directions in my own words so as to not copy and paste directly from the site, but these authors have created the two most wonderful salads I have ever eaten and deserve FULL CREDIT!!