Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fennel-Red Onion Slaw

Serves 6

Fennel & Red Onion Slaw

1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbl sherry vinegar
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp chopped thyme
1 tsp chopped tarragon
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbl vegetable oil
2 large heads fennel
1 medium-sized red onion
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Make a vinaigrette:  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the mustard, vinegar, orange zest, thyme, tarragon, and minced garlic.  Whisk to combine, then slowly pour in the olive oil, then the vegetable oil, both in a thin stream and whisking as you pour.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. The dressing can be made ahead and stored refrigerated in an airtight container.

Slice off the stems of the fennel, just above the heads.  Remove any discolored outer layers, and slice away any bruised areas.  Using a mandolin, thinly slice the fennel, slicing cross-wise, starting at the top end, and working your way down until you reach the core at the bottom.  Aim for a slicing thickness of just under 1 mm.  You want it very thin, but not so thin that you take away all the crunchiness.  If you slice the fennel ahead of time, make sure to store it submerged under cool water and in the refrigerator. (Otherwise it will discolor.)  Drain and dry it before assembling the salad. 

Slice the top end off the onion.  Slice it in half length-wise, then peel off the skin.  Using the mandolin, thinly slice the onion halves into half-rings, cutting directly across the onion.  Aim for a thickness slightly thicker than paper-thin and slightly thinner than the fennel.  Soak in cool water, at least half an hour (to take away some of the pungent onionyness), then drain and dry before assembling the salad.

To assemble the salad: Combine the sliced fennel and onions with the vinaigrette in a large mixing bowl.  Toss to coat.  Taste a bite, and season as needed with a good pinch of salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.  (The vinaigrette and the vegetables can all be prepared ahead of time.  But don’t combine them until your ready to serve, or the salad will loose its crunch.)




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