Food is memory. This simple salad stirs memories that stretch through my life. Common red radishes were a favorite of my mother’s and thus an element of my childhood. I often came home from school to find my mother, in from gardening, standing at the kitchen sink eating radishes.
Fennel is a vegetable I first tasted in the 70s while in cooking school. I was in my early 20s, and it seemed so exotic at the time, whereas mint had always been familiar. It grew among the rocks that lined the lake we visited every summer. In my mind, I can see and smell that lush mint and hear the water lapping at the rocks. My mother cherished that fresh mint and used it as often as she could. She explained to me why it grew so well there: it needed a lot of water and it liked the shade from the tree nearby.
My mother would love the crunchy freshness of this salad if she could be here to enjoy it with me. I think she’d appreciate each of the ingredients for the memories they would stir for both of us.
Radish, Fennel, and Mint Salad
- 2 cups red radishes, washed, trimmed, and sliced
- 2 cups fennel, washed, trimmed, and sliced
- 1/4 cup mint leaves, cut chiffonade
- 1/4 cup basic vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar
- salt & pepper
Combine the radishes, fennel, and mint in a bowl. Toss with a bit of salt. Add vinaigrette and toss well. Add additional salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Serve.