Sexy Summer Fennel Salad

Bad salads are boring and depressing, great salads on the other hand make me feel happy and energised just by looking at them.  I feel that I absorb health just by being in the presence of a sexy salad, so actually eating it makes me feel positively saintly.  In fact it’s my duty to accompany such a virtuous dish with some seriously awesome sticky ribs and crispy chicken wings just to redress the cosmic balance (well, thats my excuse anyway).

I was passing my greengrocer’s when I spotted a big bulb of fennel perched plumply on top of a pile of celery, yeah, I wanted that bad boy and 70p later he was mine.  The fridge was raided and this salad thrown together.  The salad itself was fab but the star of the show was the dressing.  I had a bit of fiery honey and balsamic mustard left in the jar from my Good Fork delivery and a bit of Womersley Foods Lime Black Pepper and Lavender Vinegar left that was screaming out for a bit of fennel action.

Salad ingredients:

  • 1 fennel bulb and fennel fronds
  • 1 large apple
  • 8 radishes
  • 1 stick celery
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • fresh ginger mint, chopped
  • poppy seeds

Dressing:

  • Mustard with honey and balsamic vinegar (needs to be a really hot mustard)
  • Womersley Lime, Black Pepper and Lavender vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • glug of lemon infused rapeseed oil
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

My trusty V-Slicer mandolin comes into it’s own for dishes like this, it’s my favourite bit of kitchen kit and I picked it up from a car boot sale for £1 about 7 years ago.  Just finely slice and julienne all the salad ingredients. Put all your dressing ingredients together and mix well then coat your salad in the dressing.

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Kick Ass Salad

Last November I headed off to The BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham where I was able to sample Womersley Food‘s infused vinegars.  I was photographing the show for Great Food Magazine so promised the lovely guys on the stand that I would be back to buy a bottle of their Golden Raspberry and Apache Chilli Vinegar once I was done.  Alas I got waylaid  *ahem*  at the Compass Box Whisky stand and ran out of time (lost all sense of direction).  Head honcho at Womersley is Rupert, he’s one of those lovely people on Twitter who always takes the time to chat to you and reply to your messages and well worth a follow if you use it.  Anyway, lovely Rupert very kindly sent me a bottle of the Golden Raspberry and Apache Chilli along with his Lime, Black Pepper and Lavender vinegars to play with.

Last night turned out to be a bit of a late one involving rather large amounts of wine and beer. Such indulgence combined with an early morning walk to the train station to pop an equally hungover mother-in-law on the train home had left me feeling somewhat fragile.  Normally at this point I reach for an emergency bacon sandwich but the sun was shining and I had my Womersley Vinegars to play with…perfect!

Creamy, salty feta and smoky bacon are fantastic together but throw some fresh zingy herbs into the mix, a nice hum from the red onion and the amazing sweetness and kick of the vinegar and it turns this from something nice to something really, really good.  My fella is not a fan of salads at all and has proclaimed it “seriously tasty”, from him thats pretty high praise indeed!  If you needed any more reasons to give it a go then I should mention that cheese, bacon and chilli are a sure fire hangover cure too…

Kick Ass Salad:

  • 250g feta cheese
  • 1/4 red onion
  • handful smoked bacon lardons/panchetta
  • mint leaves
  • coriander leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Golden Raspberry and Apache Chilli vinegar
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • few pomegranate seeds

Method:

  1. Fry off the lardons until crispy and drain on kitchen towel.
  2. Roughly chop the herbs, microplane the onion and combine with the vinegar and seasoning in a bowl.
  3. Break the feta into chunks, add to the bowl and mix gently.  Leave to infuse for 20 minutes if you can bear it then add the crispy bacon, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and dive in!

This salad kicks serious ass!