June 19, 2007

Orange Fennel Salad - Gluten Free

I've looked at the fennel in the produce section of Whole Foods for quite some time. I don’t know why I haven’t picked one up to try out, maybe I was held back by my uncertainty of how it would taste. I finally gave in to my curiosity and brought one of the tightly packed bulbs home on my last trip to the market.

The fringy leaves tasted slightly like licorice and the sliced bulb did as well. What could I do with it? I pulled a number of foods out of the refrigerator to do some taste testing with the fennel. Several stand outs were the orange and wasabi mayonnaise. While doing all this taste testing, I realized that the fennel was milder in flavor when combined with other food.

Next, I perused the recipes at Food Network and like some of the flavors that Bobby Flay used in his Grilled Orange Fennel Salad recipe. Continuing my research I found the article “Don’t Forget the Fennel,” by Howard Yoon for National Public Radio. Howard notes that fennel stands well on it’s own, but it’s greatest feature is that it complements other food. Howard is correct, fennel takes on a different role with other food.

I worked up the salad and tried it out. It was flavorful and slightly spicy from the wasabi mayonnaise. A delightfully light salad, my husband and I had this for dinner on a recent summer night when it was too steamy for heavier foods.


1 fennel with top
1 cup diced celeriac
1 naval orange, peel & diced
1/2 cup chopped whole almonds
1/3 cup wasabi mayonnaise
1 Tb Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Cut off the ribs and leaves of the fennel bulb. Chop them up and put into a medium sized bowl. Next cut the end off the fennel bulb and slice in half. Cut each half into slender slices and add to the bowl. Peel the naval orange and dice the segments, then place in the bowl. Add the chopped whole almonds, wasabi mayonnaise and the mustard to the bowl. Fold the ingredients together, then add salt and pepper to taste.

What did my family think of the orange fennel salad? My husband and I thought it was delicious. A cool and crispy salad, we thoroughly enjoyed it as a light dinner. Our children didn’t want to try it out. They didn’t care for the slight anise aroma.

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