Friday, 21 March 2014

Shaved Fennel and Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

I’m starting to wonder if perhaps we are living in an ice age, and just no one is telling us because they don’t want us to all panic and start hoarding Chef Boyardee and hunting each other and wearing coats made of human hair. (But really, who would ever hoard Chef Boyardee? There are better ways to spend the Apocalypse, like starving to death.)

I’ve been desperate for a taste of spring lately, and even more importantly, I have a mandolin given to me by my wonderful mother, which I had yet to use, until this crowd-wowing salad.

This gift was given to me under the strict contract that I MUST use the handle and not dare touch anything about it with my bare hands. This is due to my inexplicable ability to slice myself with just about anything. In order to honour the Mandolin Accord, I spent an hour delicately trying to assemble it on the counter, piece by treacherous piece, precariously clicking and snapping things together until it resembled something that might slice a radish into an origami-esque sheet.

Miraculously, it worked perfectly, once I hacked the fennel into an appropriately-sized chunk for the hand guide (which was possibly counter-intuitive to the Mandolin Accord, but we won’t tell Mummy,) and I shaved up fennel like it was a Saturday night and Mom was going out with the Bingo girls.

In the meantime, I was roasting beets. This took an hour, with them wrapped in tinfoil at 375°. You can peel them once they’re cool enough to handle. I use rubber gloves, and sort of just rub off the skin. You don’t need the gloves, but without them you may need to explain yourself to the neighbours a little; it can look a bit “Out damn spot!”-ish.

I sliced the beets on the mandolin too, which happened to fit much better in the hand guide for the mandolin. They were just a beautiful sight, in all their fuchsia glory. Then you simply layer the fennel, beets, and some goat cheese on a plate. Put some of the fennel sprawns (Microsoft doesn’t recognize that as a word, so there you go, you learn a recipe and I invent a word,) and some clementine slices all about, then drizzle with a little olive oil. If you have a jazzy vinegar or oil, use that. This blog has a nice dressing recipe too, which inspired my salad.

Let’s promise each other to soak up every ounce of sun this summer, shall we?