It must be the heat and humidity that has me feeling lethargic (and not the extremely rich Gorgonzola cheese sauce that seemed like a good idea for a midsummer's night). The only way to combat this lethargy is by eating popsicles while floating in a horizon pool. Or by making a simple fennel salad for dinner. OK that lacks a certain panache, but the phytonutrients found in fennel are more likely to make me feel better more quickly (and affordably) than vacationing somewhere where I might actually find a horizon pool.
"Super Foods" is a common topic in the diet stories that we cover at my day job, and I found fennel on the latest list (more for it's 'anti-bloat' properties than for the vitamins and nutrients - it has it all!). I discovered that it's full of antioxidants, including Vitamin C, and is also a good source of fiber, folate, and potassium. Who knew? I just thought it was low in calories.
I normally slice up fennel and toss it with some fresh squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and then top it with some shaved Parmesan. However, fennel's unique flavor lends itself to many interesting combinations and preparations. Here's one.
Fennel Salad with Oranges and Black Olives
1 navel orange
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large fennel bulb (halved, cored, and thinly sliced)
10 black olives, roughly chopped
1. Using a sharp knife, peel the orange carefully, removing all of the white pith. Working over a large bowl, cut between the membranes and add the orange sections to the bowl. Strain out the juice and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon reserved orange juice, and honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the sliced fennel, olives, and vinaigrette to the bowl of orange sections and toss to coat. Serve immediately. Makes two salads.