Wow! Where did the time go? I left the country for three and a half weeks and I came back to this Awesome. Weather. Spring has sprung!
One of the things I love about spring is the diverse range of fruits and vegetables available in this season: the berries, the citrus fruits, peas, cauliflowers, broccoli, asparagus, all the things I love to eat! Strawberries are cheap as chips and, oh my goodness, fennel is here! And I love fennel.
Let’s be honest here, fennel and I weren’t friends until a couple years ago when I discovered that it’s actually a vegetable and not a weird-looking giant onion. It actually tastes really nice: it’s slightly sweet with anise-like flavour. You may need to get used to its flavour at first but if it is combined with the right ingredients, you can render its taste mild and delicate. I love eating it raw as it has the most irresistible crispy crunch similar to that of celery. It stays crunchy for a long time after it’s sliced or cut, making it a perfect ingredient for salads, and in fact, I think fennel salad tastes even better the next day.
Preparing fennel is quite easy. You just need to cut the fennel into half lengthwise and cut away the tough core portion. After that you can then chop, slice or cut it into wedges. You can check it out a step-by-step instruction with pictures here.
Anyhoo, in welcoming spring and my first week back in Sydney, I made this fennel salad with my bounty from the market. It features fennel, orange, and strawberry. I experimented with adding little pieces of fruits in my salad and it turned out really well. I couldn’t be happier – the orange (and the orange dressing) balanced the licorice flavour of fennel and gave it a nice refreshing zing, and the strawberries added an interesting layer of sweetness, colour and texture to the dish.
I can’t wait for you to try it.
- 1 small fennel bulb or half of a large one, trimmed and core removed
- 2 sprigs (stem) of Continental parsley, chopped
- 1 cup of strawberries, halved
- 1 orange
- Orange vinaigrette
- Juice of 1 orange
- 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground salt and black pepper (I use Himalayan salt)
- Finely slice fennel bulb. The thinner you slice the fennel, the subtler the flavour becomes when it’s mixed with the dressing.
- Trim strawberries and cut into halves
- Grate the rind from 1 orange and set aside. Peel the orange and cut segment the orange flesh out of their membranes.
- Make the orange vinaigrette by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk using a fork
- Toss the orange segments with the fennel and strawberries to combine. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with the orange vinaigrette
Did you know
Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C (17% of the daily recommended requirement), dietary fibre and other vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and folate? Fennel also contains a powerful anti-cancer agent anethole, which helps to prevent cancer from occurring.
I’m looking forward to fennel-ing it up this spring. What about you? What’s your favourite spring vegetable?