I always enjoy when Cheryl picks out recipes for Sunday Dinner. It’s kind of like a mystery ingredient box, I don’t know what she’ll pick and she usually picks a recipe or two we’ve never tried. This past weekend she picked up the Food & Wine magazine I hadn’t even read yet and decided a cucumber fennel salad would be the perfect accompaniment to some grill-roasted chicken.
The issue was all about summer vegetables and in one article Tom Colicchio (restaurateur, Top Chef judge) gave some of his favorite ingredients. Now I don’t know if the salad is particularly his but one favorite subject ingredient was a goat yogurt, which he likes to use for its tanginess. Since I wasn’t about to travel to Long Island for this goat yogurt I figured we’d settle for some plain old Greek yogurt, ultra-tanginess be damned.
I made a couple of other adjustments as well but the most important change (in my opinion) was trading up crisp sweet apples for bland celery. As I was tasting and combining ingredients I sensed this recipe was screaming out for something sweet added to it. You’ve got all this tangy (though not goat tangy), salty, fennel flavor, which was very good, but as a whole the salad lacked some contrast. Not saying it was a single note, but it wasn’t Beethoven either. Of course apples and fennel are a classic combination so this was a natural choice. The apples retained the crispness of the celery but also add a layer of sweetness. So thank you, Tom, for the base idea even if I didn’t use your favorite fancy goat yogurt.
Cucumber-Fennel Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing (adapted from Food & Wine)
- 1 C plain whole milk Greek yogurt
- 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
- ½ C chopped parsley
- ¼ C chives
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 long English cucumbers, halved, seeded, and sliced
- 2 fennel bulbs trimmed, cored, shredded
- 1 large Gala apple diced (about a cup)
- ⅓ C sliced red onion
In a large bowl combine and whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, parsley, and chives. Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the sliced and diced vegetables and fruit. Fold into the dressing, mix well, and serve.