This is actually my best friend’s recipe. She brought over a bunch of salad the other night and it was so delicious I had so share. She was inspired by her discovery that New Seasons will give you the tops from their fennel for free. They usually have to compost it because people only want to pay for the fennel bulbs. The thing is, though, those fennel tops are full of a a light delicate fennel flavoring that can be a delicious and subtle accent in soups and salads.
To make this, she first roasted a rutabaga, let it cool and peeled it. The rutabaga should be tender but not mushy – like a potato in potato salad. She then chopped it into cubes about 1/2 inch square.
she massaged a bunch of kale with olive oil and salt. She used as little oil and salt as possible so the kale is very lightly dressed, but still tender. To do this, use about 1 tbsp of olive oil and a 1/4 tsp of salt for six cups of chopped kale. She then added one thinly sliced and chopped red onion and about 1/4 cup of chopped fennel tops. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice to keep it all fresh and light and it’s done. The salad is very light. You do not want oil and lemon sitting in the bottom of the bowl, but only just enough to coat the veggies and marry their flavors without any left over to saturate and break down the ingredients.
The flavor of the kale has that earthiness that kale brings while the rutabaga is surprisingly sweet with the fennel. In fact, the flavor combination of rutabaga and fennel is a revelation and definitely needs to be explored again and in other ways as well. The onions add a nice bit of bite. This will make 8 or more servings, but it stores well.