Spring greens, pan-fried fennel & pearled spelt
This is a simple salad that makes a light but filling supper.
I've gone for a vegan version here but you can jazz it up with some feta cheese crumbled on top if you like. There are lots of possibilities here so you can work with what you've got in your veg bag. You can make it with any dark leafy greens – it works best with the more robust greens like green cabbage, kale or spring greens. Swap fennel for roast carrots or beets, use green beans or broad beans if you don't have borlotti. There are so many different ways you can go with this salad!
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
2 handfuls of spring greens leaves, shredded finely
½ cup pearled spelt (or pearl barley, quinoa, giant couscous)
half a fennel bulb
Pinch of fennel seeds
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
A handful of fresh borlotti beans (or green beans, peas, broad beans)
2 tsp dukkah or toasted nuts and seeds
Cook the pearled spelt – rinse the spelt and bring a small pan of salted water to the boil (aim for 1:2 ratio spelt to water). Add the spelt, cover and simmer on low heat for approx 20 mins, until the spelt is soft but still has some bite.
Meanwhile prep the greens – to make long ribbon-like strips of greens, remove the thick stalks and roll the leaves up like a cigar. Slice thinly with a sharp knife. Depending on how large the leaves are you may want to chop the whole thing in half lengthways so you don't end up with really long strands. Place the shredded greens in a big serving bowl and squeeze the lemon juice over it. Rub the juice into the greens with your fingertips for a minute or so. (The acid in the lemon juice breaks down the cellulose, making the softer and less chewy, and more deliciously zingy)
Fry the fennel – Slice the fennel lengthways, about 1 cm thick. Heat some oil or butter in a frying pan, plus a pinch of fennel seeds if you have them. Once nice and hot, add the fennel and fry on medium-high heat for about 5 mins on each side, until browned.
About 5 mins before the spelt is ready throw in the beans so they can cook with the spelt for the last 5 mins.
Once the spelt and beans are cooked, drain and add to the serving bowl, on top of the greens. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Place the fennel on top, scatter the spring onions and dukkah/toasted seeds over the top. Drizzle with olive oil, and more salt, pepper and chilli flakes if you like and serve.