Crunchy sweet fennel gets mellowed out with fresh mushrooms and savory extra virgin olive oil in this dish, while shaved parmesan adds sophistication to each bite.
This is a good salad to know how to make, as the ingredients are delicious and available throughout the year. All it takes is a sharp knife or a mandolin, and you’ll have this on the table in less than 10 minutes.
The lemon zest is optional – sometimes I include it, sometimes not. I happen to have a huge glut of lemons right now, so it finds its way in to many of my dishes. This recipe doubles easily. Enjoy!
Fennel & Mushroom Salad
one fennel bulb
6 – 8 large fresh white or brown button mushrooms
1 – 2 TB best quality extra virgin olive oil
parmesan cheese for shaving*
fresh ground black pepper
This salad is best served from a platter, as the ingredients are all sliced thin. Cut the fennel bulb in half, top to bottom, then remove the little solid section near the root end. It’s edible, and I often include it if I’m cooking fennel, but for this salad it may be a little tough. Slice the fennel thin, directly onto your serving platter. Slice the mushrooms thin and pile on top of the fennel. Gently toss to distribute them evenly.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave some parmesan cheese onto the fennel and mushrooms. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and dust with salt and pepper to taste. Best served within 15 minutes of dressing with oil and salt. (If you need to do some prep early, just hold the parmesan, oil, salt and pepper until right before serving.)
* For best flavor, go buy some decent quality cheese in a whole chunk and shave or grate what you need to use right before serving. This really makes a difference in the flavor of the cheese – much better than the preshaved, pregrated stuff.