Fennel: a four-season green

You can serve it up a thousand and one different ways: braised, steamed, au gratin and in a salad! Its distinctive anise aroma pairs well with the sour cream used in this recipe. When choosing fennel, look for bulbs that are smooth and white — they’ll be more flavourful. For tender fennel, slice it very thin using a mandolin. The dressing will also help tenderize
the fennel, all the while preserving that crunch we love so much!

Hibiscus flowers

Hibiscus flowers are sold in specialty shops and natural-food stores. You can replace them in this recipe with 5 mL (1 tsp) of red tea leaves (such as rooibos), which will infuse the dressing with a subtle and original flavour.

Fennel and pink grapefruit salad

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Cost per serving: about $2.00
4 to 6 servings

2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1 pink grapefruit, separated into segments
1 shallot, finely chopped
125 mL (1/2 cup) white balsamic or cider vinegar
30 mL (2 tbsp) dried hibiscus flowers (optional)
45 mL (3 tbsp) olive oil
Salt and pepper

Sour cream
125 mL (1/2 cup) sour cream
125 mL (1/2 cup) buttermilk (the buttermilk can be replaced with 125 mL (1/2 cup) of milk combined with 15 mL (1 tbsp) lemon juice).
Salt and pepper

125 mL (1/2 cup) toasted pumpkin seeds
Chopped chives, to taste
Greens, to taste

1. Sour cream: In a bowl, mix ingredients and season to taste. Set aside.
2. Salad: Soak the hibiscus flowers in the vinegar for one hour or until ready to serve and mix with oil. Season to taste.
3. Divide fennel among bowls and garnish with grapefruit and shallots.
4. Drizzle with hibiscus vinaigrette.
5. Garnish with olive bread crumbs*, pumpkin seeds, fennel fronds, chives and greens.
6. Top with sour cream.

*Olive and pistachio breadcrumb mix

4 to 6 slices of store-bought olive bread
Zest of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lemon
125 mL (1/2 cup) pistachios, crushed
Fennel fronds
45 mL (3 tbsp) olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
2. On a baking sheet, evenly distribute the slices of olive bread and fennel fronds, then drizzle with olive oil.
3. Bake in oven until the bread and fronds are golden brown and crispy.
4. Crush the toasted bread until it’s the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs.
5. Mix the breadcrumbs with the pistachios, fronds, and citrus zests. Season and set aside. Once the salad is mixed, divide the breadcrumb mixture between plates, and drizzle with vinaigrette.

What to drink with this salad?

The anise and citrus flavours in this salad really soar, and Roseline, a rosé from Provence, will do a fine job highlighting them further with refreshing notes of grapefruit, raspberry and cinnamon. Looking for something with a bit more pop? Try Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Écusson Brut, — its sparkling bubbles and whispers of red fruit will bring a solid dose of freshness to the dish. And finally, another excellent choice would be Conundrum, featuring a host of fruity flavours like apricot, citrus and litchi. Floral notes round out the profile of this ample and exuberant California wine, making it a fine match for this recipe.