No long story here; just a good idea that worked well. This was one of the answers of What to Do With Fennel, which we had ended up with a lot of in the house. In this salad, sweet-crisp slivers of fennel and torn mint leaves cool while the slight bite of the onion and garlic and the briny feta add dimension.
This is a perfect example of what, precisely, one wants to eat in Fresno during the summer. Also on that list: fruit straight out of the refrigerator and big glasses of very cold water.
This simple little dish can be presented with far less effort than I’ve expended above. If you’d like to make this as a light main-dish salad, make a double batch of the dressing and toss it with a bowlful of any salad green.
1 large bulb fennel, cored and slivered
1 small red onion slivered
1/4 c. minced parsley
24 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
1/3 c. feta, finely crumbled
1 small cucumber, sliced on a mandoline into 8 thin slices and notched to form rounds
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/4 t. salt
Toss the salad ingredients together. Buzz the dressing ingredients together in a small food processor until emulsified. Assemble the cucumber rounds and place two rounds on four plates. Toss the vegetables and dressing together.
To plate, nestle a cucumber round in a circular cookie or biscuit cutter just larger than it is and gently insert a small handful of the fennel salad. Remove the cutter and repeat with the additional rounds. Serve immediately. Makes four appetizer servings.
For a light main-dish salad, make a double batch of dressing. Toss the vegetables and half of the dressing together. Julienne the sliced cucumbers and add to the mixture, along with about four cups (packed) salad greens. Add the reserved dressing and toss gently. Makes two main-dish servings.