Fennel, Carrot and Radicchio Salad with Lime Leaf Dressing
- 2 cups kale, thinly sliced (stalks removed)
- 5 carrots, shredded
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 small raddichio, thinly sliced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 125ml / 1/2 cup coconut milk, high fat
- 6-8 makrut lime leaves
- 1 lime, juiced and zested
- 1/4 lemon, juiced
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lime, juiced and zested
DirectionsPrep the veggies. Heat the coconut milk with the lime leaves over low heat for 20-30 minutes. Let cool, and mix with the rest of the dressing ingredients. Pour over the veggies and mix.
And now for the details…
I have a bit of an obsession with makrut lime leaves. They are also known by the name kaffir lime leaves, but this title is now considered defunct due to the offensive nature of the k-word. Some use makrut, or simply lime leaves to describe these items of deliciousness. These leaves impart the fabulously floral, tropical, and citrusy flavour to many Thai curries, and offer a great flavour to many other items as well. Plus, when you store them in your fridge, you are welcomed by their amazing aroma every time you open the door.
I had a salad very similar to this once and thought it was a brilliant blend of veggies. The fennel offers its freshness, with a hint of liquorice. The carrot is earthy and sweet. And the radicchio provides a slight bitterness to balance the flavours. But to up the ante on the tropical look of the salad with all the colours, I wanted to impart an exotic flavour to add to the experience. Enter lime leaves. Their delicate flavour adds an air of mystery to the salad. The taste being somewhat familiar, but at the same time foreign or indeterminate compared to most western flavours.
Let’s get to cooking. To start ourselves off, we are going to cook the lime leaves in the coconut milk. Try and use a “premium” coconut milk, as these will be higher fat, and will provide you with a creamier and less watery dressing. Place the lime leaves in the milk and cook over low heat until the milk is infused, about 20-30 minutes.
I actually cooked too much, using the entire can of coconut milk. I saved and froze the leftovers, which could be used for a smoothie, a delicious addition to a cocktail in place of ice, or even melted into a curry for an added punch of flavour. Tasting it frozen, it does inspire me to make an attempt at a makrut lime ice cream sometime in my near future. A forthcoming blog post, you ask? I would say likely.
Now that we have the base of our dressing ready, and we are waiting for it to cool, we will prep our veggies. Wash everything and set on a a towel to dry. Have a large bowl ready for the veggies as they are ready. Removing the core, slice the fennel very thin, either using mandolin or a very sharp knife. If you want, you can reserve some of the fennel greens to add some visual pop to the presentation of the salad at the end. De-stalk the kale and slice thinly. Slice the radicchio. Peel and shred the carrots. Slice the green onions, including part of the white. Add everything into the bowl.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients well together (make sure you have removed and discarded the lime leaves), then drench your veggies with the delicious mix and stir all together. Serve with some of the fennel greens as adornment.