This week’s "UFO"…..Unidentified Food Object

Isn’t this a beautiful vegetable?  I could see this with a few other vegetable varieties as a center piece.  Look for bright and fresh leaves.  The bulb portion should be firm and white.  You can see that it somewhat resembles an onion.  It has a slight “anise” taste that resembles licorice.  It can be enjoyed cooked or raw.   I use the bulb as well as the delicate leaves.  This vegetable is fennel.
Artichoke and Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

This salad is a very beautiful and refreshing alternative to lettuce salads.   The slight anise flavor blends very well with the gentle tasting artichoke.  The lemon vinaigrette, green, onions and fresh parsely add great flavor as well as color.  Beautiful, elegant, and delicious!  Serve alongside simply grilled salmon and brown rice pilaf….YUM!

2 fresh fennel bulbs with fronds
2 cans quartered artichokes, drained
3 tablespoons parsley, washed and chopped
3 green onions, rinsed and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh or bottled lemon juice
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

1) Rinse thoroughly.  Trim off the bottom of the bulb and leave about 1″ of the fronds, slice thinly, place in a large bowl. Remove the tender frawns, the deep green portion, and chop coarsely. (Do not use the celery looking stalks, they are very tough, they would be great in soup.) Add parsley and green onions.
2) In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil through the pepper. Pour over vegetables and toss gently. Taste, add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

*note-this is not a salad to be made ahead as the fennel tends to brown around the edges.   You could prepare the entire salad with the exception of the fennel and add just before serving.