Shaved Fennel Salad

Fennel makes a very delicate salad when sliced paper thin. It can be difficult to cut the fennel very thinly with a knife, so instead I reach for my plastic Japanese mandoline. But watch your fingertips and use the guard!–Alice Waters

LC Simple Is As Simple Does Note

Alice Waters certainly chose an apt title for the cookbook in which this recipe is found, which is The Art of Simple Food. But make no mistake, simple ought not be assumed to be unsophisticated. At least not when Ms. Waters is at the helm. Don’t overlook the subtle variations that she suggests, found beneath the recipe.

Shaved Fennel Salad Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • 4 servings


  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • Finely grated zest of 1/4 lemon, preferably organic
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fennel tops


  • 1. Trim the tops and root ends from the fennel bulbs, saving a few feathery leaves for garnish. Pull off and discard any discolored or dehydrated outer layers.
  • 2. Stir together the fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust as needed with salt and lemon juice to taste.
  • 3. When ready to serve, thinly slice the fennel crosswise. (A small Japanese mandoline makes this job easy and gives pretty results.)
  • 4. Toss the fennel with the dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. If you like, garnish with a teaspoon of the chopped reserved feathery leaves.

Salad Variations

  • Parmesan cheese curls, sliced with a vegetable peeler, make a wonderful garnish.
  • Use Meyer lemons when available and double the amount of zest.
  • Add 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped green olives to the dressing.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons parsley leaves in with the fennel.
  • Sweet peppers, celery, and radishes can be sliced and tossed with the fennel (singly or all together).
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Looking for a no-cook dish to take to an outdoor party, I read this recipe and set out to the market to buy the veggies. The salad is easy to prepare, full of flavor, and doesn’t require an oven or turning on the stove. Using a mandoline does aid in getting the veggies prepped faster, so I’d recommend one. I liked the crunchiness of the fresh fennel. Per the recipe, I added parsley, chives, cherry tomatoes, and sweet red peppers for some added bulk.

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