Posted by Stephanie Simpson on
Carrot and fennel slaw, that is.
So what makes it so super?
1. It’s easy.
Grate, chop, shake, wait and you’re done!
2. It tastes like summer, but uses ingredients that easy to find in the winter.
Why try to coax a bit of summer out of those rock-hard tomato-impostors lurking around the grocery store when you can get it easily using ingredients that actually taste good? Carrots, fennel, lemon, parsley and sun-dried tomatoes (now there’s a tomato I’ll eat in February) make for a salad that’s clean, bright, fresh, and easily attainable even when it’s -30.
3. It’s good for you.
Unlike the mint-green mystery slaw you’ll find at a company picnic (in July), this slaw is packed full of veggies, light on the dressing and there’s no mayo or green food colouring in sight.
4. It will expand your culinary horizons.
According to Gourmet, this slaw applies the Algerian method of using ingredients as spices. Briny olives provide the bulk of the saltiness, while carrots, fennel and sun-dried tomatoes provide sweetness. Cool, hey?
5. It stays fresh for a long, long time.
Unlike green salads, which tend to wilt shortly after they’re dressed, this slaw stays crunchy and fresh for days. I made some on Monday, and it was still crunchy on Thursday (and then it was gone!). And that means you can make a big batch all at once and get on with things!
Like I said: Superslaw!
Carrot and Fennel Slaw with Olive Dressing
Adapted from Gourmet
Makes about 4 cups
Note: Each ingredient in this Algerian-style slaw is meant to add something different to the dish. Naturally then, higher-quality ingredients will give you a tastier slaw (so it’s probably a good idea to leave those pimento-stuffed olives that are in the back of your fridge for something else).
1 large fennel bulb (with fronds, if possible)*
5 carrots, peeled
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Spanish green olives, chopped**
3/4 tsp dried Aleppo chile or Espelette pepper flakes***
6 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and thinly sliced
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp olives, pits removed and olives torn into 3-4 pieces
1. Chop enough fennel fronds or basil (whichever you’re using) to measure 3 tbsp and set aside.
2. Coarsely grate carrots. Cut fennel into matchstick-sized pieces: cut off base and tip of bulb, then cut bulb in half lengthwise. Place bulb-half cut-side down, and cut lengthwise into thin slices. Turn slices on their sides and cut lengthwise into matchsticks.**** Toss carrots and fennel together in a large bowl.
3. In a lidded jar, combine lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, chopped olives, and chiles (or whatever you’re using in place of the chiles). Close jar and shake vigorously until ingredients are combined. Taste and add salt if necessary. Pour dressing over carrots and fennel and toss to coat. Cover bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes to let flavours develop.
4. After at least half an hour, add fronds/basil, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and additional olives to salad and toss to combine. Serve!
*If your fennel is frondless, use basil - which has a similar, licorice-y flavour - instead. I didn’t think to add basil until after I took the photos, so the version you see here is basil-free.
**I used good-quality green and black olives, as that’s what I had on hand. Next time I’ll go for the recommended Spanish green olives.
***If you can’t find either of these things (I couldn’t), you can substitute in any of the following: 3/4 tsp sweet paprika plus a big pinch of cayenne, 3/4 tsp ancho chili pepper, or 3/4 tsp of another flavourful crushed red pepper. But use the aleppo if you can find it. From what I’ve read, it sounds like its flavour - bright, fruity, and complex, with a brief burst of heat - makes it worth the investment.
****Next time, I’ll grate the fennel as well - it works just as well, and saves a bit of time. But if you want to practice your knife skills, matchstick-away!
If you’re looking to bulk this up to eat as a meal, you could:
Add toasted nuts: like toasted slivered almonds.
Add cheese: like a crumbly goat cheese or a soft feta. If you use feta, you may want to reduce the level of salt in the salad, either by using fewer olives or reducing the amount of salt you’d otherwise use in the dressing.
Put it in a pita: on its own, or with some grilled veggies, crumbly cheese (see above) or a mild, spreadable yogurt cheese.
Stir in a cooked grain: like quinoa or whole wheat couscous. If you do this, you’ll probably want to double the dressing. Make the salad as directed, then stir in the cooked grains and add extra dressing until you’ve achieved the flavour you’re looking for.
Some combination of any of the above!