Fennel is the perfect hot date night food because -- according to the Oxford Companion to Italian Food – it both calms flatulence and sweetens breath. In this dish, my fennel is romancing tender celery hearts in what I think is a great pairing. —cheese1227
two (of course!)
1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped, fronds removed and saved
6-8 of the palest stalks of celery hearts (you need about a cup), leaves removed and saved
A good two tablespoons of fresh tarragon leaves
Good olive oil
1 lemon, halved
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and ground into ½ teaspoon fleur de sel
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1 small chunk of parmigiano reggiano, flaked off in slivery chunks
Combine chopped fennel and celery in a bowl. Roughly chop fennel leaves, celery leaves and tarragon and add them to the bowl. Add a glug of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon and a couple of grinds of pepper and celery seed. Stir. Taste and add more lemon if desired.
Spread the salad on a platter; sprinkle the fennel seeds and salt, pine nuts and cheese over the vegetables. You can serve it immediately, or it holds well at room temperature for well over an hour or so if you and your date are otherwise engaged.
I am an excellent eater (I have been all my life). I’m a pretty good cook (Ask my kids!). And my passable writing improves with alcohol (whether it's the writer or the reader that needs to drink varies by sentence.). I just published my first cookbook, Green Plate Special, which focuses on delicious recipes that help every day cooks eat more sustainably.