- Fenouil (masculine noun, le fenouil) pronounced f (as in fern, without the ern) nou y (as in your without the our), f-nou-y, with the stress on the “nou” = fennel, a bulbous, aniseedy tasting vegetable used in salads or cooked, whole or sliced. It is good with fish when cooked, with duck and other fatty meats when in a salad. You don’t really say “un fenouil“, or use it in the plural. Fennel seeds (des graines de fenouil) help the digestion and may be used scattered over a salad, or cooked with cabbage for instance, or even in a herbal tea (tisane). Here I am talking about garden fennel, but it grows wild in a lot of places in France (du fenouil sauvage). In this case the stems and flowers are used, often for barbecuing fish: a fairly thick layer between the fish and the embers gives a satisfying flavour and the smoke smells lovely too while you are waiting, drink in hand, to eat.
The recipe I’m going to give you today is for a fennel and orange salad: salade de fenouil à l’orange.
You will need, for 4 people:
- 1 good sized bulb of fennel (or two smaller) with some nice green fuzzy leaves
- 2 oranges
- a small amount of sprouted seeds of some kind to garnish
- 1 tsp of chopped red onion
- salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the vinaigrette
Wash the fennel, remove and reserve the nice green shoots, trim any dry bits at the top of the stalks. Slice the fennel vertically. This is important. It is much less stringy this way and makes prettier slices. Sit the fennel on its bottom, stems upwards, and slice downwards into very fine slices, no more than 2mm thick. Arrange tastefully in the centre of a serving dish.
Peel and slice the oranges, removing as much pith as possible. Cut each one in half (following the direction of the segments, that is, top to bottom, not side to side). Lay each half on its flat side and slice (no more than 3mm). Arrange these slices either side of the fennel. Pour any orange juice over the fennel and orange.
Roughly chop the green parts of the fennel and sprinkle over the top. Add the chopped red onion. Garnish the dish with the sprouted seeds, either sprinkled or in one ball.
Make a dressing (vinaigrette) with half a tablespoon balsamic vinegar (vinaigre balsamique), one and a half tablespoons of olive oil (huile d’olive), salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over the salad, but do not toss until everyone has admired your presentation. The pale green of the fennel and the orange look wonderful together. Si simple, si bon! (so simple, so good!)