Fennel-ominal Salad

Salads can be very boring, and are usually the side to a main dish at a larger table.

Today I get to share with some delight one of my favorite uses of the powerful and versatile herb fennel: making a salad that pops as a centerpiece to a meal.

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I mixed a huge amount of fennel, chopped fine, with diced red bell pepper and cucumber slices, then tossed it with a light dressing of olive oil, ground black pepper, lemon juice, and salt. The fennel fronds are thin and stringy in shape, so must be turned thoroughly—it's very different from a leafy salad!

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The result was a rich, aromatic and flavorful salad that packed a surprising heft—very filling and tasty! At the table it was competing with a hearty yam-and-beef soup, and I had trouble deciding which would have been the main dish. 

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Salads do not have to be wimpy palate-cleansers. Take charge!

What are some of the best showstopping salads you've served or seen?