24 November 2011
Thanksgiving and Fennel Parmesan Salad
Thanksgiving, like many holidays, is a mixed bag of emotions. Every year my huge extended family gets together in New York to celebrate and marvel at how much the little ones have grown and how many new little ones are under foot and who the heck do they all belong to anyway?? As children, this was one of the best moments of the year. Ok, we were dressed to the nines, but when the parents were busy talking, my sisters and cousins and I slipped off those two-tight new dress shoes and ran up the back stairs in stocking feet to play. Or else, we snuck into the coat room, with all its long black coats and fancy fur coats, and slipped pieces of paper, candy or other found treasures into the pockets.
In France, there's no such holiday, no time off, and so I miss all the hullabaloo of a the big family get-together. Of course, there are upsides: I don't have to worry about what to wear, or be polite to people who's faces are vaguely familiar (they look like me?) but whose names I can't for the life of me remember, and no one asks me who my grandfather is and spends twenty minutes trying to figure out how we're related.
But I also really miss my family. Now that we've grown up and are all in different places, it's hard to get to see everyone and Thanksgiving is usually when everyone manages to come together. I miss hearing the latest cousin gossip, the smell of New York at this time of year, the Broadway shows, the lights as the holiday season starts, the shop windows, and the upper class Jewish ladies in pearls.
However, even with that nostalgia, I have to admit I'm pretty lucky because here in Paris I get to have Thanksgiving with the extremely talented Camille. The food is much better than it ever was in my childhood, and I get to cook some of it! There's definitely something very Thanksgiving-y about spending the day cooking up yummy things to eat in the evening in very good company!
Of course, the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pecan pie and all that will be on the table. But it's nice to have some vegetables and I'd been meaning to test this Fennel Parmesan Salad for quite some time. I never know what to do with fennel from my CSA, but after a taste-run of this recipe, I won't hesitate to make this absolutely delicious salad again. A perfect flavor combination! It comes from the wonderful blog 30 Minute Dinner Party, which you should definitely check out if you don't already read it!
2 bulbs fennel
100g (about 3/4 cup) fresh Parmesan, shaved into thin slices
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 lime
fresh ground pepper
Cut the leaves off the fennel and wash well. Peel off the leaves and slice thinly. (When you get down to the core, the leaves won't peel well but just slice the core into thin slices as well.) Put in a salad bowl with the Parmesan. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, vinegar, lime, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the salad and serve!