Fennel smells like a million bottles of perfume but cut thin and mixed with a lot of other sexy ingredients it can serve to make one of the most delicious salads imaginable!
So what is so important about this recipe, you may ask? First of all it shows a very important method of preparation by soaking in water. Here we do it with fennel, but cooks likewise soak onion, celery and other vegetables as a means of preparation. Similar to frying or boiling, soaking helps to break down the molecular structure of the vegetable. Soaking, however, is a much slower and more delicate process than an outright boil. It eliminates strong scent (like in case with fennel, eesh!) and helps to soften the sometimes hard and unchewable veg matter.
Secondly and more importantly, this is a very good example of how to cook without using the frying pan. When you learn to cook you might be pleasantly surprised that aside from the stuff that comes through a frying pan, there are also salads!
Let’s try some substitution (TODO: article on substitution). You don’t have to fry the prociutto. In fact, you don’t even need eggs, nor beans. Here is an example of the same salad done with white and black quinoa:
Yes, you still need the prosciutto because it gives the saltiness to the salad. On its own fennel and some sort of grain lack this vital element. Dill adds another dimension, like always. Eggs are just for show. That’s right Ramsay is a showoff!