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Archive for August 18th, 2010

Fennel and zucchini salad

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.

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