Grilled Fennel, Walnut, Cherry Tomato Salad with Fresh Turmeric Aioli
1punnet cherry tomatoes; halvedkeep a few whole for aesthetic purposes
Parmigiano ReggianoParmesan block
Macrobiotic sea saltto season (use regular salt if this is not available)
Freshly milled black pepper
Fennel frondsto garnish
Fresh turmeric aioli, to dress the salad
To make fresh turmeric aioli:
½inchfresh turmeric root
Vegetable oilat least 2-3 cups
To prepare the aioli:
In a food processor, add the egg yolk and squeeze in juice from half a lemon. Season with salt.
Blitz the mixture and add oil slowly through the top to start the emulsification process.
As the mixture starts to emulsify and thicken, add a pinch of grated fresh turmeric. Blitz with more oil till desired consistency is achieved.
Taste and adjust; if less tangy add more lemon juice. If you feel that the turmeric flavour is not coming through, then add a pinch more and blitz for a few seconds. Taste and repeat if necessary.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
To prepare the salad:
Remove the fronds from the fennel and keep aside (used later to garnish the salad). Cut the fennel bulb into medium thick slices.
Heat the grill to smoking hot. Brush the fennel slices lightly with olive oil and season with salt. Grill on high heat for a couple of seconds on either side to get a nice char but still retain the crispness of the fennel.
On the same grill, grill the tomatoes for a few seconds. We just need a blister on the tomatoes and do not want it to go mushy.
Slice the cucumbers using a mandolin or peeler to get thin strips.
Roast the walnuts in a pan; take care not to burn.
To assemble; place a handful of rocket leaves on a plate and line two slices of grilled fennel on top. Add a couple of cherry tomatoes and walnuts. Roll 1-2 cucumber slices and place it on the plate. Add 2-3 shavings of Parmesan and garnish with fennel fronds; then dress lightly with a few spoonfuls of turmeric aioli. Finally sprinkle the macrobiotic sea salt and black pepper on top.
It is not necessary to plate the salad in this manner; use your own creativity and I am sure you will come up with even better results.
Fresh turmeric has a very strong flavour which is why it must be added in extremely small quantities.