It was a quiet day. As quiet as cabbage can be. And fennel too. I wasn’t always on familiar terms with fennel, must admit. My Grandma didn’t have it in her garden and when it was brought my attention to it some decade ago, I turned away my nose in a frown.
Don’t you like it? said my aunt. It’s so aromatic.
Too much, said I.
But in a quiet day when the sun is burning outside and the house is cool and kids are calm you can get yourself thinking about stuff that you usually don’t. So you have peace and quiet to bring the Grandma memory back so vividly in all of its details, shades, scents and touch. It’s nice to find time to think about such things sometimes. About Grandma’s tall, deep and dark kitchen cupboard that held all the pots and cutlery she owned. About her washed out apron and tiny, thin round golden earrings. About fresh herbs she used to hang from the hall ceiling, whose scent throbbed my nose and scared me.
Apart from clearer thinking, quiet days can make you braver, so you get yourself up and take that fennel that used to scare you and then you kind of smile to it. Am I insane for smiling to a fennel? I don’t care. I smiled because I’m not afraid any more. Freshly cracked open cantaloupe, basil, and now, fennel. I somehow grew to really love them.
It get’s like some kind of a comfort, though. To like all those things I didn’t as a child. Maybe it’s just to ease my sense of guilt because both my Grandma and time passed by and away and I cannot bring them back. Who knows. Quiet days can often bring you more than riot ones.
What do you think?
I saw this kind of salad on Food and Wine and it tickled my curiosity. So I made it and it was a real surprise. Not in a way that I didn’t know what to expect of cabbage or fennel itself, but all of those veggies together and then the mustard sweet and savoury tickeling dressing and that whole simphony toghether is such a crunchy and delicious surprise that you really should make it.
Crunchy red cabbage, aromatic and fresh fennel, firm but still refreshingly watery cucumbers and peppers with smooth and inviting dressing, what more can you ask in a hot summer day?
Plethora of textures, colours, tastes and aroma: all in one bowl of red cabbage and fennel salad. Summer day's dream!
Adapted from Food and Wine.
- 4 - 5 c /500 g red cabbage, shredded
- 1 c /150 g fresh fennel, finely chopped
- 1 small cucumber
- handful of red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp mustard
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- salt, pepper to taste
Prepare all the veggies. Shred cabagge and fennel, peel and slice cucumber, mince garlic. You can add onions too, if you like it.
Put it all in the big bowl and toss.
Prepare dressing: just put everything toghether in a small bowl and stirr to combine.
Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss and turn till everything combines nicely. Serve immediately.
Pin this recipe for later: