Shaved Fennel Salad
Recipe and photos by Maren Ellingboe King
This recipe was inspired by a recent trip to Italy, where I fell in love with the briny combination of olives and anchovies. Don’t be afraid of anchovies—rather than imparting a fishy taste, they give the salad an incredible depth of flavor. I like to use mild and buttery Castelvetrano olives, but any green or black olive will do.
1 fennel bulbs*
2 Persian cucumbers*
1 bunch radishes*
4 anchovies in olive oil* (optional)
2 garlic cloves, peeled*
Zest and juice of 1 lemon*
¼ c olive brine
⅓ c olive oil*
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ c pitted olives, such as Castelvetrano
½ c crumbled feta
1 shallot, peeled & cut into rings*
*Items available in your Imperfect box
Trim bottom and stems of the fennel, reserving the fronts. Cut the ends off of the cucumbers and zucchini. Trim the radishes.
Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the fennel lengthwise into paper-thin slices. Repeat with cucumbers, zucchini and radishes.
Add all vegetables to a large bowl filled with ice water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: Crush the anchovies and garlic with a knife until they form a smooth paste. Add to a small bowl. Whisk in lemon zest and juice and olive brine. Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain vegetables and dry using a salad spinner or dish towels. Add to a large bowl and season with salt. Add dressing and toss well using your hands or tongs.
Sprinkle olives, feta, shallot and reserved fennel fronds over salad. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes and Variations
Don’t skip the ice water bath! Shocking the veggies in ice water makes them extra crisp, and this technique can be used on any vegetable you want to serve raw, such as carrots or beets.