I love this salad. It's crunchy and refreshing -- a little bit garlicky and a little bit salty.
I've been making it ever since Kelly and Mark of Kelly's French Pastry in Santa Cruz taught me about it in 1994.
This fennel salad is very simple to make and is almost always what I'm looking for when I want something acidic and bright to even out a meal. This might be the relief you need amidst all the upcoming stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, and creamed spinach.
You'll need fennel, radish, parmigiano reggiano, lemon, olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. That's it. The dressing is my go to for many of the salads that I throw together at home. I'll add a little mustard, or anchovy or champagne vinegar depending on the salad and my mood.
If you have a mandoline or a Benriner, great. If not, a sharp knife will do. The radishes and fennel ideally should be very thinly sliced. On lazy days at my house, the slices get a bit thicker. Definitely not the end of the world!
The measurements in the recipe are rough guidelines. Even with the dressing -- just taste, taste, taste. You'll know if it is citrusy enough for you.
Shaved Fennel, Radish & Parmigiano Reggiano
1 large bulb fennel
6 radishes - french butter, red, or easter egg
A hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano for shaving
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Carefully using a mandoline or Benriner, thinly slice the fennel and radishes into a medium-sized bowl. Using a regular peeler (not the y-shaped variety), shave curls (maybe twenty or so) of the Parmigiano Reggiano into the bowl.
Smash the garlic cloves and place them into a small bowl, discarding the skin. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for about ten minutes. Whisk in the olive oil, and taste for seasoning and acidity. Does it taste good to you?
Toss enough of the dressing with the salad to lightly coat. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper. Serve. Save any remaining dressing for arugula tomorrow.