Rebecca’s recipe of the week: Fennel and Parmesan Salad

August 11, 2017 by General Administrator

‘This is an instant favorite of anyone who tries it’, writes chef Christopher Boswell. The delicate fennel combines with the tang of the Parmesan to create a very satisfying and subtle little salad.

Crudo di Finocchio con Limome, Prezzemolo e Scaglie di Parmigiano
(Shaved Fennel with Lemon Juice, Parsley & Parmesan)

Note that you do not toss the ingredients together. Instead you layer them directly onto the serving platter.
This might serve 4 as part of a larger meal.

3 Canalside fennel bulbs or 2 large ones
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lemon
60ml really good olive oil—such as that special oil from La Jimena
15 parsley sprigs
30g chunk of Parmesan or Pecorino

Cut the bottom off the fennel and then slice off the top, leaving just the bulbous body. This is the bit you need for this salad but you can keep the wispy fronds to garnish some other salad if you like. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise. Remove any tough outer leaves and leave it to soak in lots of water for half an hour, to remove any residual earth.

Drain the fennel and then slice it into the thinnest strips that you can produce. Apparently a mandoline is ideal. Opinions differ as to whether you should slice it longitudinally or horizontally. I don’t know that it makes much difference. The key thing is to get it super thin.

Spread the fennel out on a platter and season it with salt and pepper.

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice all over the fennel.

Drizzle the olive oil back and forth across the dish.

Remove the leaves from the parsley and scatter them artfully over the fennel.

Finally, using a vegetable parer, shave the cheese into thin wisps over the assemblage. Serve immediately.

(Adapted from Christopher Boswell, Verdure: Vegetable Recipes from the American Academy in Rome (2014).)

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