I think the mandolin is my favourite of the two. Instead of being a full-fledged job with multiple blades and a box, and something to protect your fingers, and that costs almost a hundred euros (like the OXO deluxe mandolin), and which claims more space that I don't have in a kitchen cupboard, this is a simple hand-held plastic number with a ceramic blade that cost under 10 euros. And it just hangs on a rack when not in use. Since its acquisition I have been making thinly shaved salads almost everyday. My favourite is a fennel-cucumber salad.
Back to the fennel-cucumber salad, it's my own invention, inspired by Japanese sunomono salad. It is light and fresh, sweet and sour, and I eat for lunch several days a week. Anyone coming to dinner in the next couple of months is likely to be eating it. It may even win over people who don't like fennel!
- 1 small fennel
- 1/2 English (seedless) cucumber
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup apple vinegar
Thinly slice the fennel and cucumber. (I think having the vegetables thinly shaved, which is easiest to do with a mandolin, is really important in this salad.)
Toss together, add the herbs, sugar, and apple vinegar. (I am using a light apple vinegar, but apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar would also be suitable)