In continuing with the fennel theme from yesterday, here's another dish Jeanne and I made during her visit out here. But this time the fennel is eaten raw in a salad with grapefruit, basil and balsamic vinegar.
It's amazing just how different raw and cooked fennel really are. If you're not a fan of black licorice, I don't know how much you'll like raw fennel. Roasting it mellows out the flavor, but it's fairly pronounced in the crunchy uncooked bulb. I'd suggest trying it, if only once, if you've never had it before.
Jeanne oh-so-kindly made the salad, so I really don't have any firm amounts of ingredients. But again, this salad is definitely one of those "to taste" types of recipes. (If you want actual recipes, you can do a google search for fennel citrus salad and get some more ideas.)
Basically what she did was thinly slice up some onion and a fennel bulb. Top that with segmented grapefruit and fresh basil torn up into pieces and drizzle with some olive oil and a nice balsamic vinegar. And that's it- you're done.
The flavor combo in this salad is quite interesting. A crazy party in your mouth! The licorice from the fennel, the tart (and very slight) bitterness from the red grapefruit, the vinegary sweetness from the balsamic, the spiciness of the basil and the punch from the onion seem like a disaster, but it's pretty freaking delicious. It's one of those odd but amazing combos (like the goat cheese and grapefruit and dill combo that always manages to blow everyone away)
It's a crisp and refreshing salad, perfect for the upcoming summer months.
I know it's hard to tell the different between the thinly sliced onions and fennel in the picture. But most of what looks like onions in the picture above is actually fennel.
And if you don't like grapefruit, by all means replace it with any other type of citrus like orange or pomelo. Lots of recipes out there for citrus fennel salads actually use orange. But what makes this salad unique is the use of balsamic. It really ties the whole dish together. YUM!!
Grapefruit and fennel salad, by Jeanne (adapted from Giada)
fennel, thinly sliced
onion, thinly sliced
basil leaves, roughly torn
salt and pepper
1. Have your friend visit you from Chicago.
2. Have her prepare the grapefruit salad.
3. Eat and enjoy.