fennel whole

Cooked salad dressings have always seemed a little bizarre to me.

Not anymore. I made this cooked fennel vinaigrette last night, and it turned a bowlful of citrus segments, red-leaf lettuce and unsalted pistachio pieces into a must-have-again side dish. I can’t wait to try this dressing on fish and chicken, on just-from-the-oven sweet potatoes and carrots, or on heartier greens like escarole and Belgian endive:

  • Finely chop 1/2 cup of fennel.
  • Mince 1 clove of garlic.
  • Finely grate 1 tablespoon of ginger.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel, garlic, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds, salt and pepper and stir until the fennel is tender — 5-6 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey. Stir well. Taste for seasoning, then cool completely.
  • Use to dress salad greens, citrus segments, fish, poultry or freshly roasted vegetables.

(Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2014)