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Fennel: A Story of Surprises

I apologize for not posting anything food related over the weekend: there wasn't too much cooking happening in my apartment. I mean unless you want to hear about a canned chicken salad I made :)

Last night I went grocery shopping to buy ingredients needed to test two of Robyn Webb's recipes. One of them was a Fennel Salad with Tomatoes and Mustard Dressing.

I am going to be honest with you: I was not looking forward to eating the salad. As long as I can remember, I've said that I don't like fennel. It's that licorice taste that I'm not a fan of (perhaps because growing up in Russia we did not eat licorice? Same goes for star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors).

I unloaded the groceries, made some room on my messy kitchen counter and got to work on the recipe. Despite the photo on the left (the light was horrendous), the actual salad was very pretty!

But the surprising part came after I tasted the salad: I did not hate it! I'm not saying I'll be running back to the store tomorrow to buy more fennel, but I think the combination of the sweetness in the tomatoes, the spiciness of mustard and the slightly bitter flavor of fennel was great!

I hope my taste buds haven't lost their memory of fondness for fennel: I'm having leftovers of the salad for lunch.

Now a question for you: what are some of the foods that you thought you did not like, but once you tried them again changed your mind?


Anonymous said...

Beautiful salad! A long time ago I thought I didn't like nuts, but once I tried different kinds and now like pretty much all of them.

Selba said...

The salad is so pretty :)

I remember when I was a small kid, I didn't like tofu at all but then now I'm a big fan of it.

veggie belly said...

I didnt grow up eating anise flavored things either, but somehow I like fennel! I've never tried it raw in a salad though..sounds fresh and healthy!

Nazarina A said...

I have never liked fennel for much of the same reasons, so maybe I should pluck up the courage and do the same. Your salad looks very refreshing! On the other hand I cannot live without fennel seeds though!

pigpigscorner said...

Okra for me. I used to hate it, it's slimey and has a distinct taste. But love it with chili! Goes really well with rice.

Sara said...

This looks great! Have you ever had roasted fennel? Roasting it really tames the licorice flavor, it gets all sweet and caramelized.

Angry Asian said...

i've never tried fennel, like you the licorice taste does not appeal to me... however, i think i need to grow up and try it at least once.

i used to dislike avocado/guacamoleimmensely, i thought the color was odd. but one day, when i was 22, i was watching a coworker eat lunch and she was savoring her avocado salad in such a manner that made me physically crave it, even tho i'd never had it. i tried and it was love at first taste. i adore avocado now.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I've never eaten fennel that I know of, but I use the seeds all of the time and use Pernod to flavor seafood, so I might like it more that I think. We drink Pastis in France but it's a Provence thing and we do it because we are there. Maybe I shouldn't be so stubborn and give it a try.

Anonymous said...


I always hated the watery tomatoes we would get growing up and I continued this dislike until last summer.

A friend made a caprese salad with tomatoes picked from his garden that morning. I ate some to be polite and was surprised how much I liked the tomatoes. I still don't like watery ones but super fresh ones are very good.

Anonymous said...

Um, fennel, love the licorice-like flavor of it. This salad looks pretty and I know it is fresh and appetizing. Thanks for visiting my blog today.

Unknown said...

acquired tastes for me - basil, olive oil, oregano, coffee, red wine, balsamic vinegar, fennel

Cindy said...

I'm pretty sure you had fennel at my place one Thanksgiving, and you liked it there too.