The Slice is Right

This is my “go to” when I need a summer salad or side dish in a hurry. Besides its kick-ass unique flavour, what I love about it is the absence of leafy greens. Don’t get me wrong, I love those too, but sometimes you want a salad that’s off the beaten path. Unusual is good!

Basically, this is just fresh fennel and super sweet tiny tomatoes with a few goodies to make it sing. Because it is so simple, good quality, fresh ingredients are key. Local is best – taste the terroir! And don‘t forget the salt – a sprinkle over the sliced veggies is what heightens flavour and gives that pleasant, soft, yet crispy texture too.


So, grab a knife and get to it. Core and then thinly slice half a head of fennel, including the fronds. Artfully sprinkle on a large plate. Grind fresh sea salt over top and toss to mix. Next, slice a few yellow and red grape or cherry tomatoes in half or make thin, cute lil’ slices (go ahead, be precious). Sprinkle over the fennel. You know what happens next – salt it! Then walk away for 10 to 15 minutes. Let that mixture steep, weep out moisture and basically give it time so the ingredients get to know each other more intimately.

Meanwhile, grab a frying pan. Throw in a handful of pine nuts and pinches of hemp and flax seeds. Dry toast or roast in a warm oven until pine nuts are deep golden and the whole thing smells dizzily aromatic.

Throw caution and measuring spoons to the wind. Freehand a generous drizzle of really good quality balsamic vinegar (or try vincotto or cream di balsamico) overtop, and then finish with lashings of extra-virgin olive oil. Add a dusting of freshly ground black pepper and gratings of Parmesan, if you have some. Finish with the toasty nut mixture. Then get ready to blow your mind.

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Let’s get to know each other: I’m a food writer, recipe developer and food stylist. I love to cook. I really love to eat. Better yet, it’s my pleasure to make it look good too. I am the consummate table-setter: I adore ...

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