As the summer growing season reaches it’s peak, even the grocery store has fresh, local produce in abundance. This weekend I couldn’t resist the incredible bulbs of fresh fennel I found at New Seasons.
As I was paying for my groceries the cashier asked me how I liked to prepare fennel and I realized I wasn’t quite sure what I planned to do this time. I love roasted fennel — roasting mellows the bubls’ natural anise flavor to a rich sweetness that goes well with chicken or almost any fish. I also love raw fennel — I usually make a salad of thinly sliced fennel paired with a simple olive oil and lemon dressing.
Given the heat of this particular day, I decided to make a salad. For a change, though, I chose to experiment with a dressing using the cherry vinegar I made a few weeks ago. To mellow out the fennel flavor, I turned to one of my other favorite (and abundant!) late summer vegetables: zucchini.
Preparation was quick and easy: I julienned the fennel and zucchini and added a little bit of finely minced (very fresh) onion.
For the dressing I whisked together 1 part cherry vinegar, 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice, three parts olive oil, a tablespoon of dijon mustard, and hearty pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper. The result was a beautifully pink, slightly sweet and tart, vinaigrette.
The final salad was the perfect accompaniment for the bar-be-qued chicken and oven-roasted sweet potato fries that made up the rest of our dinner — all washed down with a lovely bottle of dry rose wine. A delicious late summer supper.