Looking to brighten your day? Best way to do that is in the kitchen. This Fennel Salad actually combines TWO recipes – meaning you could serve your whipped ricotta as just a dip, or you could serve your fennel salad without the whipped ricotta – but together, it’s a complex and composed dish bursting with vibrant flavors.
FENNEL SALAD: 2 bulbs fennel, 1 stalk celery, grapefruit, shaved parmesan, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper
First you want to cut off the ends, remove any brown outer layers. Reserve a bit of the frond, or dill-looking herb for later. Slice each funnel bulb in half and and then make a triangular cut to remove the core of your fennel. Thinly slice your fennel and reserve in a bowl. Cut off the ends of your celery stalk, and then thinly slice the entire stalk on a diagonal and add to your fennel mixture. Top with 3/4 cup of shaved parmesan — make sure you get the SHAVED parmesan, it makes a huge difference because of the flat, sheet-like natural of the parm. OR, if you want be really fancy you could get an aged gouda or manchego and shave it yourself!
Finally, you need to get make grapefruit supremes (soo-prems). This may be the trickiest part. I was going to explain this process but then I thought there is certainly a video to help explain this, so let SAVEUR teach you 🙂 Add all off the supremes of grapefruit to your fennel, celery and parmesan. Over a smaller bowl, squeeze the remaining body of the grapefruit to net about 2 tB. of juices. Add 1 tB. of dijon mustard, 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar, 1 tB. of olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well with a fork. This will be be your dressing! Pour the grapefruit dressing over your fennel and mix well. Like I said before, you can be DONE at this point – this delicious fennel salad is perfect as is. If you want something crunchy, you could always top it with sunflower seeds or candied pumpkin seeds or even salted pistachios.
LEMON RICOTTA: ricotta cheese, olive oil lemon (juice + zest), garlic powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flake
Onto the ricotta, which honestly just kicks this whole thing up a notch and only takes a second. Take 1 cup of ricotta cheese and put it in your food processor. Zest the entire lemon, and then slice your lemon in half. Add all of the zest to the food processor and the juice of only HALF the lemon. A little drizzle of olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and give it a quick whirl in the food processor. When your ricotta is whipped, add a pinch of red pepper flakes and stir.
Now let’s put it all together. Schmear the lemon ricotta all over the bottom of the serving plate, making sure that it’s copious around the edges so you can SEE the cheesy goodness that waits beneath the fennel. Next, pile your fennel salad high atop the whipped ricotta. I saved a tiny little fennel frond for garnish – as I feel like I never garnish my food because I’m always in a hurry to feed people and, well, now that I’ve got some extra time, I’m going to work on my garnishments a bit more. Here’s to giving it a try!