February 24, 2015

"Finnochio" - Simple Fennel Salad


My Pop-Pop Gino used to make this salad for us at least once a week.  I'm not a huge licorice fan, but I will eat fennel this way... by the bowl-ful.  It's simple, it's easy, and the tangy red wine vinegar downplays the sweet anise flavor of the fennel perfectly.  We used to call it, "finnochio", pronounced "fin-oik" around our dinner table.  For what would have been Pop-Pop Gino's 86th birthday, here's a super easy recipe from my childhood that you can share with your family!  Enjoy!  

And Happy Birthday, Pop!

What You'll Need:
  • 4 bulbs fennel
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (break out the good stuff for this)
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

1.  To prepare the fennel, cut right above the fennel bulb to remove the stalks.  Reserve the "leaves" (which look like fresh dill) for garnish.  Slice the root end off the bulb, and slice in half lengthwise.  Remove the core like you would a head of iceberg lettuce or cabbage.  Cut-side down, slice the fennel into about 1/4-inch thick strips.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Toss the fennel to coat generously, and cover.  Let sit in the fridge for about 3 hours to marinate.

3.  Remove from liquid or let it stay, your choice!  Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the reserved "leaves" and extra fresh cracked pepper.  Enjoy with crusty, warm bread!


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