Well, hello again! Finally disengaging from the vacation mode in which I've been coasting for nearly a month now. Montreal me manque, but after spending 6 days indulging in the most obsenely decadent fare this side of Greco-Roman bacchanalia, I'm in desperate need of a cleanse, a broom to the system. Other household half and I brought back a trunkful of fine, fine Québécois beer, maple products, a whole frozen duck (!), and other edible souviners, but for the time being I'm on a pretty stripped-down, heavy-on-the-green-stuff diet so as to shed the couple extra pounds I also brought back from over the border. Luckily, there are meals like this delicious Fennel & Celery Salad to make the diet not just palatable, but enjoyable. I've loved this combination ever since reading Mark Bittman's recipe for it a long while back, and make it frequently - it's simple, but the flavors marry brilliantly. Whether you're on a similar diet (summer's a'coming), or not, this'll go over well with your mouth.
Fennel & Celery Salad
Makes 2 servings
Adapted from Mark Bittman, recipe here
*1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, some fronds reserved and chopped
*3-4 celery ribs
*2 tablespoons EVOO
*1 tablespoon lemon juice, more to taste
*Mica-like shaves of Parm-Reg
Cut the fennel bulb in quarters and toss the outer layer if it's too tough or leathery. Remove the leafier parts and core from inside and discard. Use a mandoline to slice the fennel thinly into a bowl. Slice the celery into the bowl as well. I alternate between shaving down the length of a piece of stalk, and slicing thin crescents. Toss the celery, fennel and fennel fronds together; if the salad seems a little wet, I usually dry lightly with a paper towel before dishing out. Emulsify the lemon juice and EVOO, adding a big pinch of salt and pepper, and drizzle over each portion of the salad. Accent with flakes of parm, a spangling of pepper, and more fennel fronds.