I went to a parade today. My first in probably ten years.
I forgot how much fun parades can be, especially through the eyes of an exuberant five-year-old. It’s also one of the few times where it’s socially appropriate to take candy from strangers and to eat it after it was thrown on the ground or dropped by another person. My kind of party. We gorged ourselves on tootsie rolls and waved to entirely too many clowns and were thoroughly windswept. It was one of the better mornings I’ve had in a long time.
Mornings like this make me realize how fortunate I am. And how I take advantage of it far too often. These days I’m working closer to 50 hours a week than 40, and not taking enough time to just sit and appreciate. The weather reached nearly 80 degrees two days this week and I missed it entirely, save for walking to and from the car. I spoke to a lot of people this week who had been out in the world but, I’m sad to admit, I was not one of those.
So today, after we arrived back home from the parade, I made a salad and then sat and enjoyed it.
I’m not usually a big fennel person. I suspect it has something to do with the absolutely absurd amount of licorice I ate as a child (and the same reason I refuse to eat cinnamon-sugar toasts). Even the slightly sweet aniselike smell typically turns my nose before it even touches my lips.
But I was reading Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life and I found myself dog-earing the page. The combination of fennel, pear, and parmesan certainly peaked my interest – and it was perfect. The pear provided a nice foil to the fennel, which was shaved so delicately thin that it had only a suggestion of licorice. A perfect post-parade lunch with a torn chunk of baguette to soak up the lemony-olive oil dregs.
Fennel and Pear Salad
From Molly Wizenber’s A Homemade Life
1 small fennel
1 red pear
Fresh lemon juice
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut off the leafy fronds and long stalks of the fennel bulb and trim away any bruised or blemished areas with a small knife or vegetable peeler. Cut the fennel bulb in half from root to stem.
Using a mandolin slicer, slice the fennel 1/8 inch thick. Set aside.
Cut the pear in half root to stem as well. Remove the seeds and any remaining stem. Slice 1/8 inch thick with the mandolin as well. Set aside.
Arrange the salad as follows: on the bottom, layer some shaved fennel, top with drizzled olive oil, add some sliced pear and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, repeat. Top with a nice drizzle of olive oil, the shaved Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. I like to use a nice “chunky” salt like sea salt.