Happy Birthday Chef Paul!

charpentier

Rumor has it that one of my favorite chef educators has recently celebrated a milestone birthday, twenty five has never looked so good ūüôā

I met Paul Charpentier when I worked as an adjunct faculty member in the Culinary Arts Department at Southern Maine Community College.  Oh how I miss his Mussels Dijonnaise, Clams Casino and Crab Cakes!  Paul was also a master at the humble potato taking his class from proper mashed potatoes to Pommes Anna.

When I was working on The Big Book of Low Carb, I asked Paul if I could include one of his recipes and he graciously agreed.¬† The brilliance of this salad is its simplicity and the fact that it is best made ahead of time.¬† With five ingredients, including salt and pepper, this Fennel and Red Onion Salad is perfect for potlucks, picnics and cookouts.¬† I served it on Father’s Day alongside rich, beef short ribs and creamy polenta.

Fennel and Red Onion Salad
Serves 4 – 6

2 medium fennel bulbs (about 20 ounces), ends and brown spots trimmed
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 1 1/4 cups)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil

Cut the fennel bulbs into 1/4-inch thick slices.  In a medium mixing bowl, toss the fennel and onion slices together with the salt and pepper; set aside.

To make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar and oil together until blended and smooth.  Pour the dressing over the fennel and onion mixture and toss to coat the vegetables with the dressing.  Refrigerate the salad for at least 4 hours or even overnight.  Toss again before serving.

I like to think that behind every great chef is a great instructor who had the patience to teach him/her the proper way to prepare hollandaise, beurre blanc and consommé.  Joyeux Anniversaire à vous mon cher ami!

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