Friday, August 03, 2007
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.