Cooking Devotional Easy Gourmet
Summer is for swimming and vacationing and having picnics and ice cream and salads. There was a time not so long ago when a salad meant nothing more to me than iceberg lettuce and chunks of tomato with a bottled dressing.
This summer I’ve learned to make salads with craisins and nuts, tarragon and parsley, and one of my favorites: watercress, clementines and sunflower seeds. Sweetness and crunch make a salad something special. And wait ’till you try the one Dale has for you today!
Salad of Fennel and Blueberries
We have used fennel before, but since it tastes so good as a raw vegetable, I thought I would share this crunchy summertime salad with you that pairs so well with simple grilled or broiled meats. Fennel, with its delicate fragrance, reminiscent of anise and tarragon, combines well with other aromatic vegetables and makes an ever so delicate sweet contrast with meat like chicken and pork. A caveat: this salad is terribly healthful, but you can make up for that with an extra bowl of ice cream for dessert.
You will need:
1 Bulb of Fennel Salt
2 Ribs of Celery 1 Tbs. Sugar
1 cup of Fresh Blueberries 1 Tbs. of Chopped FreshTarragon
½ cup Chopped Pecans ¼ cup of Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
- Wash the fennel and remove the stems. Save them for stocks, soups and mirepoix. Reserve some of the wispy leaves for a garnish; they are especially flavorful. Cut away any bruises or blemishes.
- Slice the bulb vertically, through the narrower side. Remove the root with a paring knife but don’t be fastidious with it because the root tastes fine. It just doesn’t have the same texture as the bulb and is slightly off color.
- Lay the one of the halves, cut side down, on your cutting board and proceed to slice into ¼ inch pieces. Then julienne. Do the same with the second half of the bulb.
- Slice the celery on the diagonal.
- Wash the blueberries and remove any stems.
- Roughly chop the pecans, but don’t make the pieces too small.
- Chop the tarragon. If you don’t have any fresh tarragon, use two teaspoons of dried tarragon.
- Squeeze the lemon. Please remember, bottled lemon juice is not a good substitute.
- Toss the fennel, celery, blueberries, tarragon and pecans in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the tablespoon of sugar and ¼ cup of Olive Oil and mix.
- Add the salt and lemon juice gradually, tasting as you go, until you get a satisfying contrast between the salt/sour of the salt and lemon juice and the delicate sweetness of the fennel and blueberries. (Remember you have to save some of the salad for everyone else.)
- Chill, then serve.
- Garnish with the fennel leaves.
Food for thought:
To create a fennel and blueberry salad makes sense because it’s summer and hot and because it’s healthy. But let’s take it further and look at the sense of our senses, like smell, taste, touch, sound and sight.
Consider today’s salad— how fragrant the fennel bulb is and how tactile the crunches of the pecans and softness of the blueberries. The taste is also a delight, and the finished product is lovely with its contrasting colors. This salad even boasts an interesting sound. It crunches.
Our earthly senses have many spiritual parallels. Let’s meditate for a moment on fragrance. II Corinthians 2:14-15a says “But thanks to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ.”
C.S. Lewis spoke of how a human being is destined to become a beautiful, glorious thing, but rebellion against God will produce instead something more hideous than a person can imagine. Surely that hideous thing will have a hideous smell.
Last Sunday after taking in the movie Hope Springs, my husband Bob and I walked into our home and were immediately overcome by a horrendous smell. It reminded me of a septic tank. Quickly we opened all the windows and doors, and in twenty minutes the smell was gone. We never discovered the source of it, but we were grateful that the aroma of God’s fresh air won the day.
Some say angels leave behind the fragrance of flowers when they vacate a room. We will leave behind the fragrance of Christ if we spend plenty of time in His presence.
Now consider the sense of taste. Psalm 34:8 says, “O Taste and see that the Lord is good. How blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” In the book of timeless readings, How Great Is Our God, John Piper writes of developing a taste for the presence of God. Once we’ve experienced the fullness of his presence, we begin to crave that taste again and again. We want to experience the glory of God and the beauty of Christ.
God created senses to help us enjoy life and understand spiritual truths. And today He is giving us a capacious new Fennel Blueberry Salad so we can use all our senses and be reminded of Christ. [RuthAnn]