Fennel Salad Dressed in Red

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The glowing fennel bulbs light up the market’s stalls in winter.  I like to buy quite a few of them; they could last for the week, inspiring flexible preparations: freshly shaved in a salad as a starter, added to any soup, stew and fish for sweeter and more digestible effects; steamed and simply dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or sautéed in oil and butter with breadcrumbs, as a side dish. Fennel is one of my favourite winter vegetables for many last minute meals.

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I always pick my own fennels from the stall. I like to get the freshest and I only choose the round ones, which are crunchier and less fibrous than the long ones.

Today I’m going for a raw fennel salad. The most important step is to finely shave the bulb. The thinner the slices the better the salad.The mandolina is the best tool for the job.

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Not much to add: the red chilli enhances the fennel’s sweetness, the redcurrant balance its crunchiness. Few dill lives give a touch of green: a simple decoration.

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Dress with a plain vinaigrette just before serving.

Shaved fennel, red chilli and redcurrant salad
For the salad:
2 large fennel bulbs, round
2 tablespoons dill leavees
1 small red chilli, deseeded and very finely diced
50g redcurrant
Fore the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes

  1. Trim off the tips and root ends of the fennel bulbs. Pull off and discard any discoloured or dehydrated outer layers.
  2. Thinly shave your fennel bulb on a mandoline, lengthwise, or cut it as thinly as you can with a sharp knife. 
  3. In a serving dish arrange your fennel slices and the chilli.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, salt and black pepper together. Then whisk in olive oil.
  5. When you are ready to serve it, toss the fennel with the vinaigrette and sprinkle the redcurrant and the dill on top.
  6. Serve at once.

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