You can serve this salad as part of a crudité plate with other salads, or you can serve it alone as a first course. As a first course, it is enhanced by the addition of a few paper-thin strips of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. You can prepare the fennel a couple of hours ahead of time—keep it covered in the refrigerator—but don’t add the salt until the last minute, or the fennel will lose its crunch. 1 large or 2 medium fennel bulbs.
– 1 large or 2 medium fennel bulbs.
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
– 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
– 2-ounce wedge Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional).
Step 1:Cut the stalks off the fennel where they join the bulb. Pull off and reserve a small handful of the frizzy fronds. Discard the stalks or use them in broths or braised dishes to add a lovely subtle freshness. Pull off and discard any dark or dried-out layers from the bulb, and use a vegetable peeler to peel away the outermost stringy membrane, as you would peel a stalk of celery. Cut out the core.
Step 2:Using a vegetable slicer or a chef’s knife, slice the fennel bulb crosswise as thinly as possible. Coarsely chop the reserved fronds. In a bowl, toss the fennel slices and fronds with the lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3:If serving the salad alone as a first course, divide among plates and use a vegetable peeler to slice 3 or 4 thin strips of cheese over each serving. Decorate with the fronds.