Fennel and Fruit
The salad that we did not order at Italian food fest 2012 was a winter salad that had, among other things, fennel and grapefruit. It's what I've been pondering ever since.
I thought that I would put off fun with fennel until later, but couldn't wait. I picked up a fennel bulb on my way home. Along with a grapefruit and a bunch of mint.
Lacking a mandolin, I tried to use a vegetable peeler. I would not recommend this. I eventually switched to a knife trying to slice it as thinly as I could. I got a bit worried. The texture would be less delicate and the fennel itself tasted weird. Very stemmy and only slightly liquorice-like.
Tore up some pieces of mint, threw them at the bottom of a bowl with some grapefruit chunks, topped them with fennel, and repeated that layering two more times. The whole mess was drizzled with balsamic vinegar and grapeseed oil, and topped with parmesan cheese and half an avocado.
The cheese was too much. I shouldn't have be having it anyway.
Balsamic grapefruit was a bit overpowering for the fennel. Maybe a bit less balsamic, a bit less oil, maybe more mint. Better yet, muddle the mint and the grapefruit with a dab of sugar and a bit of basil. Or maybe a different kind of citrus? Add some pine nuts or slivered almonds in place of the cheese, slice and chunk the avocado.
I was worried that it would be too sour, too bland, too much, too weird.
It was sour. Crunchy, sour, sweet, with an occasional bite of avocado to soothe the sour tongue begging for a beautiful piece of crusty bread.
Just what I was looking for.