Fennel Fascination continued.........
Summer heat combined with the fact that my apartment is on the second floor causes the ambient temperature of my abode to rise rather quickly when the "fire god of the kitchen", AKA: my gas range, is engaged in transforming raw food with the power of flame. Thus, during the summer months I tend to be more of an uncooked food eater. This puts salads at the top of the list of consumables. I was lucky enough, when I picked up my fennel bulb, to find some Belgian endive (on-deeve) as well. So I decided to stuff it with a chopped mixture, and while it makes a hearty salad for one, it also makes a great appetizer for many.
Enter the participants.
1 small Garlic Clove
1/2 tsp Sel Gris
1/2 TB Crème Fraîche
1 TB Lemon Juice
1 TB Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 1/2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano; diced (About 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup Fennel bulb; finely diced
1/2 cup Pecans; lightly toasted and chopped
2 TB Flat Leaf Parsley; finely chopped
1 Belgian Endive; leaves separated
Toast pecans until fragrant. I usually do this in a pan on the stove, as it just seems easier to shake a pan on the stove over low heat than to heat up the oven to 350 and have to keep opening it to smell them. Set aside to cool slightly before chopping.
Place the salt and garlic clove in a mortar and grind into a paste with the pestle.
Add garlic paste, olive oil, lemon juice, and Crème Fraîche to a small bowl and whisk until well combined.
Dice Fennel and add to the dressing; toss to coat.
Dice Parmigiano-Reggiano and Parsley and add to the bowl; toss again.
Separate Endive leaves, then add the pecans to the salad and toss to combine.
Stuff about 1 1/2 TB into each leaf and place on a plate.
Serve as an appetizer or do what I do and grab a glass of chilled Frascati, a light white composed of malvasia and trebbiano grapes, and dig in.