Shaved Fennel Salad with Pecorino

I’m savoring these last few lunches like this. It’s so wonderful on a weekday to do something on a whim that’s fresh and amazing  — shaved fennel, lemon juice, olive oil and pecorino cheese.  Maternity leave ends in 10 days. After that, weekday lunches will consist mostly of sandwiches and cafeteria food, or leftovers from dinner.

A single bulb of fennel was in our CSA box this week. We had other fantastic goodies — strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, cabbage and ground pork. But I was particularly happy about the fennel. I held the bulb to my nose (licorice!) and wanted to make a simple salad.

I also needed to use it quickly. You see, there’s not much room in our refrigerator right now. One of the side shelves broke a couple of weeks ago, which means bottles of soy sauce, chutneys and other random condiments are crowding our refrigerator shelves. I left the fennel out overnight on the kitchen counter. This morning I picked up some pecorino at the store, came home and made this. It’s quick, refreshing, and summery. Its simplicity and beauty made me happy.

Shaved Fennel Salad with Pecorino
barely adapted from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

2 medium fennel bulbs (about 2 pounds) trimmed
1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 ounces pecorino cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Using a mandoline or chef’s knife, thinly shave the fennel. Toss in a medium bowl with the olive oil and lemon juice.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the pecorino over the fennel. Season with salt and pepper, add the fennel fronds, and toss gently. Serve.

Serves 4.


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