I’ve always loved that song from the French singer Alain Souchon “Sous les jupes des filles” (Under girls’ skirts… nothing naughty I swear!). It’s fresh like an early spring day with its -maybe cheesy but so poetically refreshing- message that as long as there are girls and women walking around the world with skirts there is a sparkle of light in the eyes of men when the breeze lift them up, hope for a better world!
Since I live in the Netherlands, Souchon is back whispering in my head every spring, when on the first warm sunny day, skirts blossom on all the terraces. The Dutch even have a name for that day. It’s “rokjesdag”, skirt day! It’s quite a big thing back here: They talk about it at work, on TV and in the newspapers. The true beginning of the Dutch Spring! And of course, the start for the girly magazine competition for the publication of the best miracle/no hassle/ecofriendly diet that will get you back in no time in those short little skirts without the fluffy protective winter layer accumulated through the Christmas period (and Easter)….
Luckily, no need to rush: I had to laugh when I discovered that some of the Dutch weather forecast websites even provide a skirt weather indicator, just as they have a UV or allergy indicator! Handy though, I must admit! My skirts and dresses are back in my wardrobe waiting impatiently for the next index 7 or 8 on the skirt weather index. In the mean time, I do my Pilates with dedication and I’ve got the perfect little salad to keep me waiting without guilt for the perfect skirt day while browsing through the new spring fashion in the magazines: It’s crunchy, it’s fresh and it smells and tastes like Spring! Perfect for your lunch basket, you can prepare it in advance and it will be a perfect match with steamed fish, smoked salmon or a chicken sandwich.
Fresh fennel, celery and apple salad
Salade fraiche a la pomme, au fenouil et au celeri
serves 4 to 6 pers.
prep: 10 min. marinate: > 1 hr
2 small or 1 medium fennel bulb(s) (~400g), firm and spotless, stalks* removed, washed;
2 celery branches, washed and peeled;
1/2 cucumber, washed, peeled and seeded;
1 eating apple, preferably with orange or red tints (Elstar for example), washed;
juice of 1/2 lemon;
4 Tsp olive oil**;
1 pinch fresh grated ginger and lemon zest** (optional);
sea salt and pepper to taste;
Cut the fennel, the peeled cucumber and the peeled celery branches in small dices. Dice the apple as well, but don’t peel it: it will add a lovely color touch to the salad.
In a salad bowl, add the vegetables and apple, the lemon juice, olive oil, grated ginger and lemon zest, and toss well to coat the vegetables.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and refrigerate. Leave to marinate at least 1 hour before service and ideally overnight.
Taste and adjust seasoning with extra lemon juice and/or olive oil if necessary and serve fresh.
You can add a couple of handful young salad leaves (rocket…) if you feel like it… or not.
* keep the stalks and greens to season fish, soups or to use in a yogurt dip with other fresh herbs.
** I used a delicious olive oil I bought in Provence, infused with ginger and lemon zest. If you use plain olive oil, you can add a pinch of fresh grated ginger and lemon zest.
Bienvenue & Bon appetit in my kitchen!
Myriam, la gourmande.
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