I am so inspired by this seasonal recipe series! Thanks to everyone who voted last month to help me pick ingredients for a new dish. The winning produce was (drumroll, please) fennel, asparagus and radishes.
I immediately thought of a salad, which felt a little like a cop out. I could hear Tom Colicchio in my mind “But, you didn’t really cook anything, did you?” I decided to ignore my inner Tom and follow my instincts. I love a salad with crisp spring vegetables, and this recipe promised big flavor and crunch.
The dish is simple to make, but there is a little bit of knife work. I don’t care for big chunks of fennel so I used a mandoline to slice the fennel into thin disks, then cut those with a knife into strips. I sliced the radishes thinly and cut my already thin asparagus on a diagonal. If you have thicker asparagus, you can shave it with a vegetable peeler.
I used my vegetable peeler to shave the parmesan into long thin strips. The trick is to use a light touch so that you get strips thin enough to see through. If that seems like too much work, you can grate it instead.
The result is a tangy, crunchy, peppery salad that was the perfect bite of spring. Enjoy!
And, don’t forget to vote for April’s ingredients: April Recipe Mashup Ballot.
Asparagus, Fennel and Radish Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
1 bulb of fennel with fronds (the leafy green part)
juice of 4 lemons, approximately one-half cup
1 bunch of thin asparagus
1 bunch of radishes
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 tsp salt sea salt
1 wedge of Parmesan
Separate the fennel bulb from the fronds and, if needed, clean up the bulb. Set the fronds aside.
Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, shave the fennel into thin disks. Using a knife, cut the fennel into long strips.
Place the fennel and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice into a shallow bowl or dish to allow the fennel to soak up the juice.
While the fennel is soaking, slice the radishes and asparagus. If your asparagus is thick, you can shave it into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
In a small bowl, combine the other 1/4 cup lemon juice, salt and the olive oil. With a whisk or fork, whip the dressing until the juice and oil thicken. Taste and add salt, if desired. I did not add pepper because my radishes were very peppery, but feel free to add it if you have more mild radishes.
Combine the fennel, radishes and asparagus in a bowl, slowly add dressing to lightly coat the vegetables. Lightly shave 8-10 ribbons of parmesan into the dish. Pinch fennel leaves from the fronds and sprinkle over the top of the salad.
Serve and enjoy!
P.S. Don’t trash the fronds. You can save the fennel stalks to use in fish stock or to make fennel pesto. Here’s a great post from The Kitchn on 5 ways to use fennel stalks and fronds.