Fennel chickpea salad

Fennel chickpea salad

fennel chickpea salad

Fennel chickpea salad

In the summer when the fennel comes into season, it’s good to have a couple of recipes for different ways of preparing it. This recipe for fennel chickpea salad uses raw fennel which is dressed with lemon and olive oil. The secret is shred the fennel very finely so that it is softened, almost cooked, by the lemon juice.

Fennel has a distinctive slightly sweet taste reminiscent of aniseed. It has a number of  health benefits and is an excellent source of Vitamin C, fibre, folate and potassium.

Fennel is low in calories and has a high amount of fibre, very little fat and no cholesterol.

To prepare the fennel bulb, strip off the outer, tougher leaves. You can use the whole bulb including the delicate fronds which can be chopped and added to a salad or used to makevegetable stock.

There are a number of ways of cooking fennel and you can eat it raw, boiled or roast. To boil the fennel, cut the bulb into quarters or wedges and cook in boiling, salted water for 15-20 minutes. If you prefer, you can roast it in the oven and it will take about 40-50 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.

As well as in salads, fennel can be used in soups, as a vegetable in its own right or in dishes such as fennel risotto.

fennel bulbs
juice of one lemon
400g cooked chickpeas
salt and pepper
olive oil

Quarter or halve the fennel bulbs, depending on how large they are and shred very finely, either by hand of using a food processor. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the chickpeas and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, dress with some olive oil and mix well.

Fennel and Lemon Risotto

2 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200ml dry sherry
350g risotto rice
1.5 litres vegetable stock
grated zest of 1 lemon
30g butter
50g parmesan cheese
basil laves, finely shredded

Heat some oil in a pan and gently fry the onion, garlic and fennel until soft. Raise the heat to medium and add the sherry, stirring until the liquid has evaporated. Meanwhile, heat the stock in a saucepan on the stovetop.

Sprinkle over the rice, stirring well to coat all the grains.

Add a spoonful of stock and turn the heat down to a simmer. Add a ladleful of stock at a time and continue adding the stock until the rice is cooked. Stir in the butter, lemon zest and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Add more stock if necessary and leave for a couple of minutes off the heat.