After Christmas, I found myself confronted with two food issues. The first was a real, strong need to eat light. The variety of food at the holiday combined with poor weather and more sedentary habits to make me feel slightly like a bowling ball. The second was a plethora of fennel. I'd accidentally purchased more fennel than I needed for the fennel and brie risotto fritters, and I needed to use it up. This recipe fit the bill perfectly.
I didn't make a whole lot of changes to the recipe. I substituted fresh, coarsely ground grains of paradise for the black pepper - it seemed like fun, and now you can get grains of paradise in these neat little grinder bottles. Yes, I'm easily amused. I increased the amount of garlic, although I still didn't use much. I accidentally misread the quantity of sweet onion when I was making my shopping list, so I used less than required. I also used a few more olives than called for in the original recipe, although since olives are fattening I didn't use a whole lot. I also didn't have white vinegar, so I used cider vinegar.
The only complaint that either of us had about this dish was the fact that the sweet onion wasn't very strong or sweet. Sauteeing it slightly might have brought out more of the sweetness. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients: this is a very easy, very quick dish to make.
Fennel and Sweet Onion with Tomato Vinaigrette (serves 6; approx. $0.62/serving)
4 plum tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon juice
16 pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- Put the tomato in the small mixing bowl and mash lightly with the back of a spoon.
- Add the vinegar, cumin, olive oil, salt, grains of paradise and garlic. Mix well.
- Thinly slice the fennel bulb (reserve the stalks and fronds for another use) and the onion. Put them in your serving bowl.
- Pour the contents of the mixing bowl over the fennel and onion.
- Add the cilantro, lemon juice and olives. Toss to coat and serve.