My Aunt Deborah is an artist. She is a professional artist, yes, and an exceptional one at that, but perhaps more importantly, she is an artist in all that she does. From the understated and cool, yet eccentric and unselfconscious aesthetic of her home to every dish she's prepared for me since childhood, everything about her exudes a kind of irresistible and strange elegance. This Fennel Salad, at once uncomplicated and yet perfectly complete, captures much of what I love and admire most about my aunt. I hope you will try it and be inspired--as she inspires me--to find the exquisite in the everyday, and to bring together not only ingredients which make one another sing but to imbue each act of your day with a similarly refreshing perspective, celebrating and delighting in life's simple pleasures.
See if she has any public art installations near your and be sure to check them out!
A snapshot from Deborah's house on the Pedernales River outside of Johnson City, TX
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Aunt Deb's Fennel Salad
One Large Fennel Bulb
Half A Small Red Onion
Two Or Three Mustard Leaves
Juice Of Half A Lemon
Lemon Zest, To Taste
Salt And Olive Oil, To Taste
A Tiny Pinch Of Fennel Pollen, Optional
Slice Fennel Bulb and Onion as thin as possible -- I use a knife, she uses a mandolin.
Remove rib from Mustard Greens and chop finely.
Combine above ingredients in an attractive but unfussy serving bowl.
Toss with Lemon Juice and Zest, Salt and Olive Oil, and the Fennel Pollen if you are using it.
Salad will keep well for a good couple of days in the fridge and is, in fact, best made at least a few hours before serving.
I would love to know about your favorite
simple Winter meal -- I hope you'll share
with me what it is and how to make it
in the comments below!