Carrot & Fennel Salad with Ranch Dressing

This was my first time cooking with fennel, and I had a couple of bad moments while slicing the fennel bulb and experiencing the subsequent strong smell of aniseed. I’m the sort of person who picks the black jelly beans out of the bag (Husband loves black jelly beans, that’s why we’re married). However, I quite enjoyed the flavour of the baked fennel, as the aniseed flavour wasn’t nearly as prominent – I thought it mixed very well with the other flavours in this robust roast vegetable salad. This recipe is adapted from the February 2009 delicious magazine.

ingredients:
2 bunches of baby carrots, or small carrots sliced into fours
2 baby fennel bulbs, or 1 large fennel bulb
1 red onion
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups rocket leaves
1 bunch mint

for the dressing:
250g light sour cream
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp each of chopped chives, parsley, fennel fronds, dill & basil

Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel the carrots, and if you’re using bigger carrots, slice them into three or four lengths. Slice the fennel bulb thinly, and reserve the leafy fronds for the dressing. Chop the onion into quarters, and leave the peel on. Arrange the vegetables on a tray, sprinkle with salt and olive oil, and bake for 25-30 minutes until everything is tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in the serving bowl. You may need to add a couple of tablespoons of water to have the dressing at a nice runny consistency.

When the vegetables are cooked, leave them to cool a little. Remove the skin from the onion quarters, and slice them up. Place the vegetables in a bowl with the rocket and mint, season with a little salt, lemon juice and olive oil. Serve the salad on a large platter, with a bowl of the ranch dressing to the side.

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