Few vegetables are as transformed by cooking as fennel. Raw, fennel has a faintly licorice-like taste. I love it, but not everyone does. Whether you find the raw version intriguing or not, cooked fennel is much milder - interesting to be sure, but not remotely bizarre.
As the weather (finally) got warm this week, I got a hankering for Alice Waters’ shaved fennel salad. But in a moment of mad scientist kitchen-edition whimsy, I wondered what the dish would be if those same ingredients were cooked and made into a composed (arranged) salad. The answer is that the new version is as delicious as its progenitor, in a completely different way. Where the layered salad is crunchy and light, this one is smooth and the flavors are concentrated. Both are worthy of a place at your table.