Tomato and Fennel Salad

_DSC6494When I lived in Sheboygan, I was a frequent dinner guest of one of my favorite co-workers.  She made seemingly simple ingredients truly sing, without recipes.  Her pan seared and wine braised chicken thighs come to mind right away and then this amazing salad she always made with fennel, cilantro, and lime- I never ate fennel this way, truly I can’t remember fennel before this salad!  Anyhow, we had some fennel on hand and cilantro and lime, so it was meant to be recreated and brought me back to the kindness showed to me when I was alone and so far from Jason, my friends and my family.  Thank you.  I added cherry tomatoes on top of the original recipe it adds a variety to the crunchy texture of the fennel and look at the colors…


Serves 4

1 medium bulb of fennel, trimmed and sliced**

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon fennel fronds, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper to taste


Toss fennel, tomatoes and cilantro together in a bowl with the lime juice and olive oil to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, serve cold.


** To trim fennel, cut the stalks away from the bulb, reserve enough fronds to add to the salad.  Cut the bulb in half from the top to the bottom, then in half again, same way.  Next take each quarter fennel bulb on its side and slice the point off on a diagonal, this will remove the tough base of the bulb.  Then slice on the bias thinly.



Fennel, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Fennel, Beets and Arugula are all in season springtime vegetables.  We made this salad along with some pan seared chicken breasts on a bed of wilted dandelion greens ( also in season)- obviously we are highlighting the salad because it was the star of our meal- dandelion greens, not so much ( very bitter, we welcome any suggestions to try them again, until that happens we won’t be getting them… ).  Back to our Fennel, Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad; we tossed it in a homemade dressing that had finely chopped chives and shallots, which balanced well with the variety of bold flavored veggies- fennel holds it’s crunchy bite and sweet anise flavor offset by the peppery arugula, and back to the sweet roasted beets with tangy goat cheese to top it all off…  A mouthful of flavors, this is no boring salad!

2 medium beets (red or gold), washed, tops removed, and cut in half
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely minced chives
1 diced shallot
1-2  fennel bulbs, top trimmed
6 cups baby arugula
2 oz goat cheese, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place beets in a small baking dish. Add 11/2 teaspoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until beets are tender. Let beets cool, peel off skin, and cut into bite-size wedges.
3. Whisk together remaining olive oil, vinegar, chives, and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Add 11/2 tablespoons of dressing to beets and toss to coat.
4. Cut fennel bulb in half and remove core. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice fennel and transfer to a large bowl. Add arugula and gently toss to mix. Add remaining dressing and toss again. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Heap a mound of fennel-arugula salad in center of each plate. Scatter beets around fennel mixture and goat cheese and serve.