Salad of rocket, cooked spinach and shaved fennel
Sunday 03 August 2008
I love this salad; it has all the things I find most delicious. Spinach well-dressed and served at room temperature is fantastic.
4 bunches of spinach
The zest and juice of one unwaxed lemon
80ml/3fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
100g/31/2oz grated Parmesan
Sea salt and black pepper
1 bulb of fennel
3 handfuls of rocket
Start by washing the spinach really well – it tends to hold a lot of dirt and so needs to be washed in several changes of water.
Place a large, heavy-based pan on top of the stove and add the spinach – don't bother to put in any water, as the water clinging to the leaves is enough to wilt and cook it. Once the spinach has just collapsed – two to three minutes – drain it in a colander and set aside to cool.
When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water with your hands – important because the spinach will taste delicious only if properly seasoned and, for that, it must be dry. Place in a bowl and dress with the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, Parmesan, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Blend lightly and thoroughly with your fingertips.
Slice the outer layer from the fennel, then slice lengthwise as finely as possible. Now add the spinach and the rocket; taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve at once: this salad should be eaten once dressed as it begins to taste tired quite quickly.
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