Fennel Salad with Goat's Cheese, Butter or Red Leaf Lettuce, Olives, and Tomatoes

by DerdriuMarriner

Fennel is a flavorful herb. It is particularly nutritious and healthy in salads. Featured is a fennel salad with red leaf lettuce, black and green olives, and cherry tomatoes.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) adds flavor to culinary creations. It is an aromatic herb. Its smell and taste sometimes may be reminiscent of anise (Pimpinella anisum) or aniseed.

The flavorful herb can be recognized by its appearance as well as its aroma. It is an upright plant. It is known for its leathery leaves. It sports bright, cheery, welcoming yellow flowers.

The addition of fennel never breaks a salad. Instead, it gives a decoratively fresh and healthy look. In fact, a fennel salad will be nutritiously satisfying. It will work without any ingredients other than parsley and salad dressing.

Fennel salad is easy and quick to make. It may stand on its own as a quick mini-meal or snack. It also works wonderfully as one of the courses in a bigger, more formal meal.

Ingredients

Here are the ingredients:

 

1 large fennel bulb

1/2 cup green olives

1/2 cup black olives

1 cup cherry tomatoes, gently halved

1 small head (= about 1/2 pound) butter or red leaf lettuce, shredded

3 ounces goat's cheese, crumbled

8 ounces green beans, trimmed, and, if desired, sliced

2 blood oranges, sliced or chopped in chunks

  • Note:  Optional but should not be missed!

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • substitutions:  red wine vinegar or herb vinegars such as tarragon

1/4 cup dill, minced

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons oil:  EVOO or sunflower

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1/3 cup grated cheese:  Mozzarella or Parmesan

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

 

red leaf lettuce: brightening garden and table
red leaf lettuce: brightening garden and table

Instructions

Here is what needs to be done:

 

1. Halve the fennel bulb with a lengthwise cut.

  • Use a knife to carve out the triangular core, which is tough, at the bulb's bottom
  • Note: I set aside the core for addition to puréed soups.
  • With a knife, mandoline, or V-slicer, make crosswise, thin slices, which will measure as about  4 cups.

2. In a large bowl, whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and black and white peppers.

  • Whisk oil gradually.
  • Add fennel slices, dill, goat's cheese crumbles, green beans, lettuce, olives, oranges (optional), and tomatoes; toss.

Sprinkle with Parmesan/Mozzarella cheese, parsley, and pine nuts.

The salad may be served immediately or it may be served after chilling at least an hour in the refrigerator.

 

basic ingredients for refreshing salad: fennel, lettuce, and olives; delicious additions: cheese, oranges, tomatoes
basic ingredients for refreshing salad: fennel, lettuce, and olives; delicious additions: cheese, oranges, tomatoes

Variations

 

A favorite variation of this recipe is to sautée the fennel slices before incorporating with the

whisked and other ingredients.

 

Another variation is grilled fennel slices.

 

fennel fragrantly growing in garden
fennel fragrantly growing in garden

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Teresa Giudice for generously sharing culinary treasures and family anecdotes in her beautiful cookbook, Skinny Italian.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

My recipe is a variation of a classic Italian recipe, "Fennel Salad," provided by Teresa Giudice on page 214 of her excellent Italian cook book, Skinny Italian.

 

perfect fennel salad: delicious, flavorful medley of goat's cheese, lettuce (butter or red leaf), oranges, pine nuts
perfect fennel salad: delicious, flavorful medley of goat's cheese, lettuce (butter or red leaf), oranges, pine nuts

Sources Consulted

 

Accademia Italiana della Cucina (The Italian Academy of Cuisine). La cucina: the regional cooking of Italy. Translated by Jay Hyams. New York : Rizzoli, 2009.

Castelvetro, Giacomo. The Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables of Italy (1614). Translated and introduced by Gillian Riley. Devon, England: Prospect Books, 2012.

Giudice, Teresa, with Heather Maclean. Skinny Italian. New York: Hyperion, 2010.

Riley, Gillian. The Oxford Companion to Italian Food. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

 

Juicy blood oranges complement fragrant fennel in refreshing salads.
Juicy blood oranges complement fragrant fennel in refreshing salads.
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It - Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too!

Italian recipes by Teresa Giudice with Heather Maclean
Italian cookbooks

Fennel, from Tacuinum Sanitatis, c.1390-1400

Fennel, from Tacuinum Sanitatis, c.1390-1400
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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 08/19/2014, DerdriuMarriner
 
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DerdriuMarriner on 05/16/2014

Mira, Yay! I look forward to hearing about it.

Mira on 05/15/2014

I will!

DerdriuMarriner on 05/12/2014

Mira, This is one of my favorite salads. As you described it so well, "the combo is just amazing. So simple and yet so powerful."
Please let me know whenever you do make this recipe.

Mira on 05/12/2014

I'm back to this salad. I'll make it this time because the combo is just amazing. So simple and yet so powerful.

DerdriuMarriner on 10/14/2013

frankbeswick, Me too I love smelling and tasting goat's milk cheese. The recipe somehow manages to showcase each of the different tastes and textures without displeasing anyone. There are always pleas of "tastes like more" whenever this is served chez moi.
Thank you for visiting and commenting.

frankbeswick on 10/13/2013

I have a weakness for goat's milk cheese. Your recipe sounds like food heaven.

DerdriuMarriner on 10/13/2013

Mira, Me too, I agree that the combination of fennel and oranges is quite a delicious attraction for those who make the food and especially for those who eat it.
Thank you for visiting and commenting.

Mira on 10/13/2013

This sounds heavenly. I love fennel. And fennel and oranges is a great idea!

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