This column was originally published in the Hamilton County Herald on June 12, 2015.
Every time I visit my hairdresser to get my hair trimmed (along with my gray covered), she turns her TV to the Food Network Channel. She knows I write about, cook, and eat a lot of food, and that I’ve been cooking since I was able reach the stove by standing on a chair alongside my mom and granny. Well, maybe some of that is a little exaggerated, but some of it is true.
However, I just can’t watch that channel. It makes me hungry! And more times than not, I’m starving when I get to her shop because I haven’t eaten properly. Having to sit still for a few hours and watch meal after wonderful meal being prepared (not to mention the luscious deserts) is torture.
The CIA doesn’t have to use water-boarding techniques (or whatever it is they do) to get the bad guys to talk. All they have to do is starve a person for a day or so, then turn on Bobby Flay running around his grill, sprinkling spices on everything, or Rachel Ray tasting her dish, and then giggling at its wonderful flavor. Not to mention Paula Deen with all of her “ummms” and “ahhhs!” It’s that bad.
The last time I tuned in, I was there long enough to watch several shows, and to have my hunger pangs eating away at my insides. I watched the preparation of some mouth-watering Cuban-style pork chops with Mojo, some grilled eggplant, some kind of turnip recipe (sorry, but that one did nothing for me except bring back bad childhood memories of my grandmothers’ turnips), a yummy-looking fried potato rosette, and a tasty-looking corn salad.
Which brings me to my recipe today – a tasty Corn Salad; I have a recipe similar to the one that was aired. It’s a wonderful side dish that goes with anything from pork chops to hamburgers. It also makes a great carry-along for picnics and such.
My recipe has fennel in it. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried fennel, but if you haven’t, now is a good time to do so, and it’s so good in this salad. I think fennel tastes like fried okra. Seriously!
Fennel is a crunchy, slightly sweet, white or pale green bulb with closely arranged stalks. The stalks have feathery green leaves from which flowers grow and produce seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves, and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family, and is related to parsley, carrots, dill, and coriander.
Fennel contains a large list of phytonutrients, which I could name for you, but you’d probably be none the smarter, so just trust me – it’s a very healthy green vegetable that provides strong antioxidant protection in our bodies. However, there is one fascinating phytonutrient compound in fennel – the anethole, the primary component of fennel’s volatile oil. In animal studies, the anethole in fennel has been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer. In addition to its unusual phytonutrients, the fennel bulb is an excellent source of vitamin C.
I hope you’ll give this corn salad a try – and please include the fennel. It would be a perfect carry-along salad for your Fourth of July picnic. You won’t be disappointed!
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 fennel bulb, quartered, cored, thinly sliced, and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/3 cup canola oil
In a large serving bowl, toss together the corn, apples, fennel, onion, carrots, and celery. Add the parsley and cumin and season with salt and pepper, to taste. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, mustard, and oil. Add the dressing to the vegetables and toss well to coat.