Author Notes: Sometimes the beauty of a dish lies in its simplicity. I like such dishes, where the flavors of few key ingredients come together into something more than the sum of their parts. In this fall-winter salad, the licorice taste of fennel is muted with vinaigrette, and only a hint of it comes through, accented with vanilla, almond and black pepper notes. - QueenSashy
- 2 large fennel bulbs
- 4 tablespoons almond oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 vanilla bean
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare the vinaigrette. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds carefully. In a small bowl, mix the oil, vanilla seeds, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk until well blended and creamy. Let the vinaigrette rest for about an hour.
- Cut off fennel stalks close to the bulb. (You can keep the stalks and fronds for another use.) Remove any discolored outer layers, and cut off the root end. Halve the fennel lengthwise (do not remove the core). Slice the fennel very, very thinly crosswise, not quite see through but close, by hand or with a mandolin.
- Toss the fennel with the vinaigrette. Let the salad rest for about 15-30 minutes for flavors to develop. If needed, adjust the seasoning and serve cold or at room temperature.