My mom recently raved about an unrecognizable white vegetable she’d found in her salad. She described it as crunchy with a slight hint of licorice, so my mind immediately went to fennel. Its leaves are considered an herb, while its large white bulb is treated like a vegetable. Quick tip: if you’ve gone gluten-free or paleo and are missing your crunchy croutons, slices of a crisp vegetable like fennel or celery add texture and unique taste to salads.
If vegetables had cliques, fennel would be an outsider who sat in the corner, perpetually scribbling in a mysterious notebook. Like that quiet, vaguely artistic kid from high school fennel tends to be either unknown or polarizing: you’ve never heard of it, you love it, or you don’t want it anywhere near your plate. I made this arugula salad featuring fennel and blackberries for our Mother’s Day celebration, and thankfully my family discovered a shared love for fennel. Must be genetic.
Arugula is my favorite lettuce (food nerd alert: I have a favorite lettuce). I eat a lot of spinach, so arugula’s unique peppery flavor is a refreshing change once it comes in season. I added a handful of juicy blackberries, a sprinkling of roughly chopped fennel bulb, and a few fennel fronds. Arugula is in the same family as mustard, so I thought a faintly sweet mustard-maple dressing would tie this salad together.
a big bowl of arugula
1/2 cup blackberries
2-inch section of fennel bulb, core removed, roughly chopped
optional: fennel fronds for garnish
Maple Mustard Dressing
Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with maple mustard dressing and enjoy.
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