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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 refreshing 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 medium fennel bulbs
- about 4 tablespoons almond oil
- about 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 vanilla bean, about two inches long
- 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. Taste and if needed adjust acidity and flavors (vinaigrette is a very personal thing). Let the vinaigrette rest for about an hour. (I usually make a little bit more vinaigrette, just in case.)
- Cut off fennel stalks close to the bulb. Reserve the stalks. Reserve a couple of fronds for garnish and keep the rest for another use. Remove any discolored outer layers from the bulb, and cut off the root end. Halve the fennel lengthwise (do not remove the core). Slice the fennel and then the stalks 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, garnish with fronds and serve cold or at room temperature.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Restorative Recipes
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Vinegar
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Fennel
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Vanilla