Friday, August 03, 2007

brain malfunction = culinary success!




Ok, sometimes I astound even myself with my absent-mindedness. You see, a few weeks ago, I read this post on Emilie's blog about a pot-luck party that included two delicious sounding salads. One was a mango/jalapeno/cilantro salad, and the other was a marinated fennel/orange/kalamata olive salad. Yummy, right? Well, as I so often do when reading blogs, I mentally filed away these recipes to try as soon as I could (or in this case, as soon as I could find fennel at the farmer's market).

Well, a funny thing happened between the reading of the blog and the making of the meal. The two salads sort of morphed into one in my apparently muddled brain- I became convinced that what I'd seen, and what I simply had to make, was a marinated fennel, mango, cilantro, onion and lime salsa.** Soon, I struck gold, finding some beautiful young fennel at a produce stand.

By now you're probably thinking to yourself, "that sounds more than a little weird." Well, so did Daiku.

"Fennel and mango and cilantro?!" He asked doubtfully.
"Don't be so doctrinaire, Daiku. It was posted on Emilie's blog," I replied, most haughtily.

And so I went to work- chopped the veggies, squeezed the lime, and marinated the whole thing overnight.

The result? Quite delicious! Even doubting Daiku agreed that the salsa was piquant and refreshing, if unique.



Now, I could have eaten the whole salad by itself, but we decided to make a meal around it. We marinated and grilled some tempeh (check those grill marks!) in a spicy Asian marinade consisting of Soy Vey teriyake sauce, doctored up with extra garlic, paprika, chili oil, and chili pepper. (Ok, I guess this is another weird combo- lately, I've become convinced that raw fennel is most appropriate with Asian-style flavors. I mean, Chinese 5-spice powder includes star anise and fennel seed, right? Am I going off the flavor combination deep end?)



So after all this tomfoolery, we ended up with a meal. A nice meal. An enjoyable meal. A slightly bizarre meal: iceberg lettuce wraps with sticky rice, grilled tempeh, and fennel-mango salsa.

The moral of this story: why, fennel and mango go surprisingly well together!

**Recipe: chop 1 mango, 1 large or two small fennel bulbs, 1/2 white onion into small dice, toss together with some fennel fronds, chopped cilantro, the juice of one lime, a small splash of extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Allow to marinate overnight.


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16 comments:

Village Vegan said...

That sounds (and looks) really good! I love it when yummy new combinations turn up because of mistakes.

Vegan*asm said...

Mistakes are the culinary worlds best friend. And yours looks quite delicious. Mango and fennel sounds so refreshing.

Celine said...

hooray for mistakes! you rule, my friend.

Veg*Triathlete said...

Oh, you cracked me up with your story! But I agree, the finished product looks absolutely delicious.

SusanV said...

I think it sounds like a great combination, and the tempeh looks yummy too!

Emilie said...

too funny! I was cracking up as I read this. I'm glad that it all worked out though...sometimes I think we get absentminded, but sometimes it's really just that you've selected and ordered information in a personal, if inaccessible, way. Probably you knew somewhere deep inside that this flavor combo would be just the thing for you! I also love those moments of source citing--I think it's an academic impulse--a seriously, don't question me on this because on page xx so-and-so says...kind of thing. Anyway, now I'm inspired to do something new with a mango!

maybepigscanfly said...

I love it! What a great story. I've only recently braved trying fennel, and well, I LOVE THE STUFF! So this is definitely going to be a must try. While things might sound weird it doesn't mean they taste weird. I mean some countries think Americans are crazy with their pb&j sandwiches- boy are they missing out!

Johanna3 said...

That sounds (and looks) really good! what a nice accident!

laura jesser said...

How funny! I'm glad it worked out. Those grill marks caught my eye instantly--yum!

Melody Polakow said...

I think it sounds and looks delicious..

Bridget said...

Facinating combo. Thank goodness for your brain malfunction because it is our definite gain. I would never in a million trillion years think to put those three things together.

Looks gorgeous and very tasty.

Bridget said...

Facinating combo. Thank goodness for your brain malfunction because it is our definite gain. I would never in a million trillion years think to put those three things together.

Looks gorgeous and very tasty.

VeggieGirl said...

what a great dish! awesome flavor combinations

veggie barbie girl said...

Wow. You take really pretty pictures! I like the colors in the salad.

My mom uses fennel a lot, I bet she'd like this!

vko said...

Tasty, gorgeous, healthy- all good things and those grill marks- I'm jealous!

Cassie Young said...

Oh, I think this looks and sounds wonderfully refreshing! Found you through Celine's blog and I'll be sure to return. Very nice blog you have here! :)