Our friend Anna brought this amazing salad to a dinner party last weekend—it was so fantastic—we had to get the recipe from her. It’s from an Australian cookbook called Where the Heart Is, by Karen Martini. It’s such a good cookbook (Anna lent it to us) but it’s impossible to find (for less than an arm and a leg on Amazon). So here’s the recipe, which I’m transcribing from the book:
Shaved Fennel, Ricotta, and Pea Salad
2/3 cup fresh or frozen peas
150 ml extra virgin olive oil (3/4 cup)
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1 large bulb fennel
5-6 sprigs mint, leaves picked and torn
4 tablespoons lemon juice
300 grams ricotta (about 1 1/2 cups)
Place peas in lightly salted boiling water and blanch for 15-20 seconds. Drain, then drizzle with a little of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the fennel in half, reserve green tops and slice bulb very finely. Place fennel, peas, mint and fennel sprigs in a large bowl. Whisk lemon juice and remaining olive oil in a small bowl. Pour over fennel mixture and toss to combine.
To serve, divide ricotta evenly and pile onto plates. Spoon on fennel salad and season generously. Serves 4.
Tip: Don’t throw away the soft, furry fronds as these are lovely picked off and scattered over the salad after dressing. When buying fennel, always look for fat, round bulbs that are firm and sweet-smelling. Hopefully, they’ll have a little greenery still attached.