Fennel is one of those strange vegetables that you either love or hate. It has a licorice flavor and a texture that is refreshing and crisp in a salad. I am on the Love Fennel side as it reminds me a lot of Tarragon. I think it pairs especially well with Citrus and I usually make a vinaigrette of some fresh orange juice, fresh lemon juice, garlic, mustard and olive oil and serve the sliced Fennel with some cut up orange pieces too. I also sprinkle some of the Fennel fronds on top as a garnish. It is a delicious and delightful salad and just perfect for a hot Seattle summer evening served along some Grilled Fish with a sweet Berry Dessert!
Fennel and Orange Salad
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced
4 fennel bulbs, stalks and root ends trimmed
2 Navel oranges, cut in half - juice one half for dressing and cut the rind of the other three pieces off and then cut into small pieces
Reserved Fennel Fronds for garnish
Cut fennel bulbs in half lengthwise, then slice them crosswise into very thin slices. Whisk orange juice, lemon juice and mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and generous amount of pepper. Place fennel and oranges in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fennel fronds before serving.
Five Element Analysis
Fennel is a Metal vegetable because it has a certain pungency and the Garlic and Mustard add even more Metal. The lemon and orange plus the olive oil all contribute the Wood Element. The Water, Fire and Earth Elements are missing. So, this is a great salad to serve alongside a Water main dish like the Grilled Fish I served and a sweet dessert for Earth that includes some Red Berries - we made a Cake with Strawberries for the Fire Element that helped us achieve a Five Element balance in our meal.