“What is THIS thing?!”

That’s what my youngest son asked when I opened up my produce box on Saturday and pulled out a huge bulb of fennel.

I’ve only used fennel a few other times, and not at all in the last year, so I kept it in the back of my mind as I perused my favorite food blogs over the next few days. As it turned out, a link over at SlashFood pointed me towards a Toronto Star article offering a fennel recipe. Since the box also brought us a couple of tangelos this week, I used them instead of tangerines.

Fennel and tangelo salad

Whisk together 1/4 c. olive oil, 2 T. rice vinegar, 2 T. minced shallot, and 1 tsp. grated tangelo peel (once again, let me pimp my Microplane zester!). Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with one large, thinly sliced bulb of fennel (chop the fronds finely) and 2 peeled, seeded tangelos, sectioned and chopped into bite-sized pieces (scrape any juice on your cutting board into the salad).

The article said to add another 5 oz. of mixed greens, but I didn’t find that necessary… we just ate it as-is. It would have easily served 6 people.

This was also a chance for us to try out the new-to-us OXO mandolin we recently acquired from a friend. The online reviews are mixed, saying the blade was too dull for things like bell peppers and tomatoes, but I wouldn’t use a mandolin for those things, anyway. It did great on the fennel.

The mild licorice flavor of the fennel was a nice backdrop for the tangy citrus and vinegar, with the shallots giving a little more depth. I’m looking forward to the leftovers today, after they’ve had all night to mingle and saturate the crispy fennel.

I still couldn’t get the 4-year-old to try it. Oh well.

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