If you follow my blog on Facebook, you may have seen me share a photo of this salad recently. This is a salad that celebrates summer veggies. It’s cool, crisp, colorful and, of course, delicious. It seems almost too simple of a recipe to post but I sometimes get asked what to do with fennel and this is seriously one of my easiest suggestions. People often pick up fennel at a farmer’s market or receive it in a CSA box and wonder what the heck to do with it. Recipes don’t have to be complicated and, if you’re not a regular home cook, I know you don’t want them to be. This is a great way to introduce yourself to fennel while enjoying other summer veggie delights. Roasted fennel is also divine – try throwing some on the grill or pan roasting it, to really intensify its flavor.
I’ve been growing fennel the last couple of years and I think it’s a great addition to a home vegetable garden. It’s not susceptible to disease or bugs and, if you can keep the groundhogs from chewing off the tops (true story last year), not much bothers it, at least in my case.I do tend to pick it while it’s young, which yields a very tender and crisp fennel. It also helps thin out my patch of it, as I inevitably plant them too close together every year.
The tomatoes and cucumbers pictured here are also from our garden. The tomatoes are Black Vernissage heirloom from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, one of my favorite places to buy seeds. They’re gorgeous little 3-inch tomatoes packed with flavor. The cucumbers are a pickling variety, which is all I typically grow, but any type of cucumber will work here.
This isn’t so much as a recipe as a salad suggestion. You can increase or lessen the quantities of any of the ingredients to suit your tastes.
fennel, tomato, and cucumber salad
- Fresh fennel, sliced
- Tomatoes, diced
- Cucumbers, sliced or diced
- Red onion, thinly sliced
- Olive Oil
- Rice vinegar, unseasoned
Add your vegetables to a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil and rice vinegar over, toss and serve.
Easy, right? That’s what I love!
I prefer to use rice vinegar on this because it has a very light flavor, but it’s also good with red or white wine vinegar and even white balsamic vinegar. I use the unseasoned variety of rice vinegar but if you like a little sweetness, use seasoned rice vinegar and omit adding any additional salt.
You want just a hint of oil and vinegar on this, to really let the flavors of your veggies shine through.
Isn’t it beautiful? This salad screams summertime. Fennel is easy to find now in most supermarkets and farmers markets so, even if you’re not a home gardener, you shouldn’t have any problem getting some.
Variations: thinly sliced sweet yellow, orange or red peppers work great with this. If you prefer, you can also serve it on a bed of greens. A little fresh parsley, basil or mint also change this up a bit, as does a little thinly sliced summer squash.
Don’t be afraid to play with your food! Enjoy!