Fennel Salad with Green Apple and Parmesan

November 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

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This salad made me a fan of fennel. Crunchy and has a fresh, sweetly musky taste similar to liquorice and anise. Paired with apple, it masks the licorice flavor (perfect for those not keen on its taste) and adds to the freshness of this salad. Packed with many health benefits from relieving anemia to improving eye care, this salad was my intro to this herb.

fried-chickenGood as a side dish — I like it with fried or grilled meats.

In fact, it has opened the door to many more delicious Fennel recipes, which I will share with you eventually.

In the meantime, here’s the recipe adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s book, A Homemade Life.

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What you need:

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, about 10 ounces
  • 1 small Green Apple
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Sea Salt
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

Prepare the fennel:

  1. Cut off and discard the stalks and fronds.
  2. Using a vegetable peel or a small knife, trim away any bruises or brown spots on the bulb’s outermost layer of skin.
  3. Cut it in half from root to stalk, and trim the root end.
  4. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin and working with the one-half of the bulb at a time, slice the fennel very thinly, 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Set aside.

Prepare the Green Apple:

  1. Using an apple core, remove and discard core.
  2. Then cut the apple in half from top to bottom.
  3. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, slice it very thinly, just like the fennel. Set aside.

Assembling the Salad:

  1. Make a layer of fennel slices. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  2. Then place a layer of apple on top of the fennel. Sprinkle lightly with lemon juice, and season with salt.
  3. Shave thin ribbons of cheese. Drizzle with oil.
  4. Repeat and finish with a good sprinkle of lemon juice, a generous splash of oil and a few shavings of cheese to garnish.
  5. Serve with salt and pepper to taste.
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Only in the Philippines

June 27, 2012 § 5 Comments

Or is it?  This is about a dish I recently made and instantly fell in love with.

When I saw mustard greens (mustasa in my part of the world) in my favorite Saturday market last week, I dropped everything, went for it  and got myself a bundle.  I love that peppery tasting vegetable to pieces.  Excited, I stormed my little library of ideas on what I can do with it… then I stumbled on Mr. MM’s recipe.

I first tasted this vegetable when I was a teenager.  My grandmother used to make a Chinese version of the pickled mustasa, the name of which I loosely translate as “salty vegetable” – not exactly love at first bite but more of an acquired taste.  I have yet to get my hands on that recipe, for now let me share this with you.

This month’s Kulinarya challenge (hosted by Cherrie and Tina) was a daunting “Only in the Philippines” theme, featuring uniquely Filipino dishes.  I wasn’t planning on joining this month until this beautiful recipe came along.  Why do I think it daunting?  Because the dish that came to mind was Kare-Kare and that to me is a major production and can’t consider making in the near future with my busy schedule.  Anywhow, I am posting albeit late, a dish for this challenge.  I figured that this could be uniquely Filipino because the ingredients used are “very” Filipino.  I call it Esaladang Mustasa at Lechon sa Bagoong.  Stay with me here because this is one heck of a side salad.  Ingredients and flavors scream Pinoy through and through.

Mustard Salads are not as popular in Manila as it is in the province, often eaten with fried dishes.  If you like strong flavors then this dish is definitely worth a try.

Ensaladang Mustasa at Lechon sa Bagoong

(adapted from Market Manila’s Mustasa Salad with Bagoong and Kalamansi Dressing)

What You’ll Need:

  • Mustard Greens
  • Lechon, shredded and fried till crisp

For the Dressing:

  • 10-15 Calamansi (in this recipe, I used 4-5 pieces of dayap)
  • A dallop of Bagoong Alamang or Fine Shrimp Paste
  • Chili flakes
  • Patis or Fish sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper

What You Do:

  1. Wash mustard greens carefully; wrap in paper-towel to dry and store in the ref for 2-3 hours to keep crispness and freshness.
  2. Chop them about 1/3 of an inch and put in a salad bowl.
  3. Make the dressing by squeezing the calamansi; strain out seeds.
  4. Add bagoong, siling labuyo, a dew dash of patis.
  5. Top with shredded lechon meat and season with freshly ground pepper.

For more inspiring recipes, visit other KCC members listed below:

Palitaw  from Day of Chef by Day 

Avocado Shake from Malou of Skip To Malou

Pinais na Isda from Iska of Iskandals.com

Grilled Panga ng Lapu-Lapu from Erwin of Iskandals.com

Tapsilog from Cherrie of Sweet Cherrie Pie

Kutsinta  from Tina of Pinay In Texas Cooking Corner 

Kare-kare from Adora of Adora’s Box

Kulawong Talong from Elizabeth of Asian In America

Kalamay na Pinipig from Jun of Jun-blog

Party Favorite

May 21, 2012 § 6 Comments

This is not about fancy food fare.  This salad accompanies almost any ‘inihaw” (grilled) dish that might be served during a fiesta or in my case, any gatherings at home.  Easy to put together and never fails to liven up a table of food fare.  I think this dish paved the way to my loving eggplants.

This month’s KCC challenge (hosted by Elizabeth and Dudut) was to feature a regional “Fiesta” specialty of one’s province.  I grew up in Quezon City and fiestas I only came to know (and sometimes attend) when I am a grown up already.  But this refreshing ensalada (salad) is almost always present during parties thrown at home so I think it should count as the family specialty.

Ensaladang Talong

The roasted flavor of the eggplant is the key that gives this dish a hint of the “ihaw” or charred flavor while the sili (chili) gives it a nice kick.

What you need:

  • 2 tbsps. shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 salad tomato, diced
  • 1 small green or red bell pepper
  • 1 green finger chili (siling pangsigang), seed, deveined and chopped
  • 3 eggplants (about 150g. / pc)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper

What you do:

  1. Roast the eggplants directly over an open fire until charred or in the oven.  Allow to cool.  Peel the eggplants and discard stems.
  2. Cut the peeled eggplants into small chunks.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix all other ingredients together and drizzle with Coconut Vinaigrette.
  4. Garnish with the remaining portions of the bell peppers and green finger chili.

Coconut Vinaigrette

What you need:

  • 1/8 cup coconut cream
  • 1 gm. ginger, peeled and minced.
  • ½ green finger chili, seed, deveined and chopped
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (I used sukang niyog)
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Combine coconut cream, ginger, green finger, chili and vinegar in a bowl.  Stir well.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir well.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Stir again.

Roast Sweet Potatoes

July 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

When I was growing up, I never really paid much attention to sweet potatoes or “camote” as they call it in my part of the world.  An occasional “camote-cue” during recess time in school sums up my bond with this root crop – and only if the “banana-cues” (my all-time comfort food) available are all dried up and yucky.  In recent years though, I’ve developed a deep affection for sweet potatoes that, despite its name, is not related to potatoes at all.

A highly nutritious vegetable, it has become a staple in my kitchen.  I particularly like the orange-colored variety as it has a more distinctive sweet flavor and having more beta-carotene than those with lighter colored flesh added to its appeal.  And as with all kinds of sweet potatoes, it is rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamin C and B6.  How can you not love that?

I’ve always had it as a sweet treat but I recently discovered that its sweetness is a delicious contrast to savory ingredients.  I don’t remember anymore where I came across the idea but my favorite way to make this simple dish is to slice* the sweet potatoes as desired, sprinkle some sea salt, herbs and spices and blend with a bit of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).  Roast until sweet potatoes are somewhat caramelized or tender.  If I’m in the mood for some heat, I add Paprika or a bit of Cayenne Pepper.

In the photo, I added flat leaf parsley, some rosemary and probably even some fresh thyme — giving it a slightly peppery / minty tang.  Either way I give my 2-thumbs up to this tasty side dish that sometimes suffices as a snack or even a quick meal.

Try it too with cumin, coriander and lemon or lime juice; how about your favorite cheese and bacon?  Or just plain salt and pepper… the possibilities are endless.

*  There is no need to peel but make sure it is scrubbed well to get rid of the soil.

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