My favorite part of the decision to sign up for a CSA share this summer? It's not the green garlic or spring asparagus, not the freshly-dug new potatoes, not the juicy heirloom tomatoes or the lettuce that keeps for 10+ days. It's the things that present a challenge- like beets, kale, or fennel.
We've gotten a shit ton of fennel so far in our CSA share, it's been daunting to find new ways to make tasty things to eat with it. Chilled soup or vichyssoise, we haven't gotten there yet. Don't be afraid of the anise flavor, the sugar and acid will help keep that at bay. If you like to pound a few Jaromir bombs, however, you probably have no qualms with fennel.
The vinaigrette was adapted from Elise, she has a plethora of recipes on a classic, long-running blog. There's a reason why when googling a recipe, there's always a hit from simplyrecipes in the top ten. She's got good stuff, and a lot of it.
A key here is slicing the fennel bulb as thin as possible, a mandoline would be ideal, or you'll have to use some knife skills to get it thin, but it ain't too difficult.
Fennel Slaw with Oregano Dressing
1 large or two small fennel bulbs, trimmed (reserve fronds) and cored, very thinly sliced
1/2 medium carrot, halved, very thinly sliced
1 medium to large radish, halved, very thinly sliced
1 large shallot, halved lengthwise, very thinly sliced
1 TB sugar
4 TB lemon juice
1/2 C good quality EVOO
1/2 ts dijon mustard
1 ts fresh oregano, chopped (a pinch of dried will be okay, although will not have same effect as fresh)
1 ts kosher
For making dressings, vinaigrette, sauces, etc. a stick blender is so easy and affordable. You don't have to mince the hell out of the garlic and shallot, just chop it up and throw it in. Or, you have to slowly add the fat, EVOO, while whisking to emulsify the dressing. Or use your food pro or blender, but that's a lot to wash afterward.
Combine the lemon juice, sugar, mustard, S&P, oregano, and EVOO. Combine thoroughly via your method of choice.
In a large mixing bowl, add the sliced fennel, carrot, radish, and shallot. Pour the dressing over and mix well. Top with some chopped fennel fronds. Chill in the fridge for about an hour, as with the coleslaw, you can serve cool or at room temp.
If you're using fresh oregano, throw in some of the tiny leaves if you have em.
It's healthy, tasty, and refreshing. Try it!!