This lovely salad is a perfect summer accompaniment to grilled pork, sausages, lamb chops and more. Many people ask me about what to do with fennel. This salad is absolutely wonderful without the peaches, especially as a salad to serve before an entrée course. With peaches, it becomes a sublime summer salad that is great on its own, and wonderful with grilled meats and game. To get the same effect without meat, try grilling the peaches and tossing them into the fennel right off the grill! Play around with the fennel salad as the base, and try other stone fruits like nectarines, or even melon or tomato.
2 bulbs fresh fennel, trimmed
1 or 2 fresh ripe peaches, cored and sliced
Juice of 1 lemon (preferably Meyer variety)
Zest of same lemon, grated on a microplane
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1 or 2 tablespoons mint leaves (if small- if large, chop just before serving)
1 teaspoon quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the fennel very thin across the bulb on a mandoline – WATCH YOUR FINGERS! Toss the fennel with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Cut the peaches into wedge slices. You can peel the peach if you wish, but it is not necessary. Toss the peaches into the fennel and add the olive oil, then half of the herbs. Divide onto plates and top with a pinch of the remaining parsley and mint. Serve.
YIELD: 8 servings
VARIATION: Great with grilled peaches, too!
SOURCE: Chef Jamie Smith