It's here and it crept up on me - bathing suit season, that is. ugh. Is it too late to start dieting now? Oh forget it - there's just too much good gelato in my future. But it can't hurt to have a light salad or two for lunch or dinner. I've always loved raw fennel and raw mushrooms in a salad, but this one is kicked up a notch with the addition of chive flowers and pink peppercorns - not original ideas to be sure, because almost everything's been done before. But I did get inspired to use those pink peppercorns after seeing Lori's salad here, and to throw in those chives after seeing Stacey's dish here.
You'll need a mandolin to cut the fennel thin enough, but we careful of those thumbs and fingers. Shave the parmesan with a cheese plane, crush the pink peppercorns, and toss in some chive flowers or tiny thyme blossoms. And don't worry about those few extra pounds -- enjoy the gelato.
Arugula Fennel Salad
arugula - one small bunch
one small bulb of fennel
shaved parmesan cheese, as much as you like
sliced raw button mushrooms - about 6 or 8, depending on size
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
a little less than 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
a small bit of honey (1 t. or so)
a small squirt of Dijon mustard
pink peppercorns, smashed
chive blossoms, thyme blossoms
aged balsamic vinegar, optional
Mix all the dressing ingredients in a jar. Wash the arugula and toss with enough of the dressing to coat.
Slice the fennel thinly using a mandoline. Careful not to cut yourself. Toss the fennel with a bit of dressing and place over the arugula. Wash the mushrooms and slice thinly. Scatter them over the salad, then shave parmesan cheese over everything. Decorate with chive blossoms and/or thyme flowers.
Drizzle a little aged balsamic vinegar over the salad, if you have it. Otherwise, it's fine just as is.