Crunchy-bulbed and frilly-fronded, fennel is a tad misunderstood. A member of the parsley family with a subtle licorice flavor, it’s often misidentified as anise, another plant entirely. Most Americans know it for its seed, a major player in Italian street-fair sausages. But it’s just as memorable braised, or in crisp salads like the one Diner chef Caroline Fidanza fashions from ultrathin slices of fennel and celery heaped on a bed of silky prosciutto.
Caroline Fidanza’s Fennel Salad
1 large fennel bulb, fronds reserved
2 celery ribs, leaves reserved
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 slices prosciutto
Freshly ground pepper
Halve, core, and (1) thinly slice fennel bulb (preferably with a mandoline). Slice celery diagonally into long, thin slices.
(2) Salt vegetables and toss with lemon juice and olive oil. To serve, arrange prosciutto slices on a platter,
(3) mound vegetables on top, season with pepper, and garnish with celery leaves and fennel fronds.