Fennel and Cucumber Salad

Photo by Helene Dujardin accompanied her recipe for a fennel, cucumber, scallion and mint salad.  I first published this entry on 7/6/15 at 5:24 p.m. and updated on 7/7/15 at 9:45 p.m. to include a picture of the farm share, which can be found at the bottom of the post.

Since the expected Glade Road Growing farm share for week of July 7 includes fennel, cucumbers, sweet onions, carrots, and rainbow chard, I used the above photo as an inspiration and substituted the sweet onions for the scallions and also fennel fronds for the mint.

You could also make a delicious pasta primavera by chopping and sauteing any of the following and serving over cooked pasta, finished with some grated Parmesan cheese: fennel bulb, onions, carrots and chard.

Serves 4

1.  Wash the fennel,  cucumber and the onion in cool water.

2.  Peel the onion, cut in half and thinly chop to to make a quarter to a half a cup.  If you would rather use scallions, as pictured, cut 4 of them lengthwise, keeping all of the white parts and most of the green. Place in a bowl of ice water to curl, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

3.  To prepare the fennel, trim the stems and fronds close to where they connect to the bulb.  Chop some of the fronds to make 1/2 cup and reserve the remaining to use as an herb in salads or with pasta.  You can also use the stems in stews.

Trim the root end from the bulb to make a flat surface, for the bulb to stand on then cut straight down through the root of the fennel bulb in halves and again into quarters.  Peel off any wilted or rubbery outer layers and discard.  With the quarter on its side, thinly slice crosswise.

4.  With the skin on thinly slice the cucumber into disks.

5.  When ready to plate, layer the cucumber and fennel slices, top with the onions and fennel fronds. To make this salad hardier you could also add steamed string beans and new potatoes. If you would like this to be a main course, top each plate with 1 ounces of crumbed blue cheese and 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas.  You could also serve it over a bed of cooked, chilled quinoa.

Here's another recipe for fennel:
Gingered Fennel Peach Tomato and Red Onion Salad

The fennel, onions and carrots are also delicious roasted with a Freedom Ranger Chicken.

UPDATE:  Here's the actual farm share (small version) photographed by my neighbor, Blacksburg Town Councilman Michael Sutphin (twitter).  Notice the addition of Thai basil.

In the newsletter, Sally Walker, half of Glade Road Growing's proprietors, writes:

Thai basil is a type of basil that is slightly spicy and also is somewhat licorice-flavored. Try a few leaves chopped into a cold noodle salad with sesame oil. If you do nothing else, just put it in a vase of water on your counter and smell it periodically. If you have a pollinator garden, this would be a nice addition because it has beautiful purple flowers that honeybees love.