This has easily become one of my favorite salads. Crunchy, bright and refreshing with lots of fresh dill and citrus, it satisfies. If you have never tried fennel bulb in its raw state, this is the perfect introduction. It has a mild anise flavor and is great in salads because of its texture and crunch. A friend of mine, Jill, made a version of this last spring and I found myself having seconds and then thirds.... I couldn't get enough.
Here is a basic recipe, which is completely adaptable. Sometimes I'll add thinly sliced radishes, baby arugula, sliced daikon, celery, daikon sprouts, zucchini ribbons, italian parsley, chives or even a little feta. Play around with it and make it your own. I prefer using meyer lemon juice, but white balsamic or rice wine vinegar both work well too.
The recipe and photos were recently featured in Souvenir Magazine this Spring... along with several other of my spring recipes. Editor Heather Bullard has such a thoughtful and beautiful eye, and the magazine itself is visually stunning, inspirational and a wonderful relaxing retreat.
Remember: the thinner the fennel slices, the better. If possible use a mandolin.
Shaved Fennel, Dill and Cucumber Salad
2 medium sized fennel bulbs
3 small persian cucumbers
1/4 C fresh dill or more
1/8 C white onion ( optional)
Meyer lemon juice, white balsamic, or rice wine vinegar
kosher salt to taste
pepper to taste
Cut fennel bulbs in half and remove their hard core. Using a mandolin, shave fennel and place in bowl. Finely slice cucumber with the mandolin and chop the dill. Place both in the bowl. You can add thinly sliced white onion if you like. Dress with a generous drizzle of good quality olive oil, a squeeze of meyer lemon or a splash of either white balsamic vinegar ( or rice wine vinegar), salt and cracked pepper. Let marinate in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving.