Fennel Salad from Algeria Perfect for May

In North Africa salads of all kinds are a favorite dish, served as part of a meze table, called qimiyya in Algeria, or as an accompaniment to grilled meats.  This recipe from Algeria is simply called salāṭat bisbas, fennel salad.  Although I love raw fennel which makes both a great dipping implement and sliced thin for a salad, in this preparation the fennel is boiled first and then drained and served at room temperature with its dressing. The so-called Florence fennel called for in the recipe is nothing other than the typical fennel you will find in your market. Typically, I would make several of these kinds of salads earlier in the day and then serve them with whatever was being grilled for supper.

Salāṭat Bisbas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Algerian
Serves: 6
  • 2 Florence fennel bulbs (about 1½ pounds), stalks and leaves removed and saved for another purpose
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ½ cup pitted black olives, drained
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Quarter the fennel bulbs lengthwise. In a large saucepan, bring some lightly salted water to a boil, then cook the fennel until tender, about 20 minutes, drain, and let cool. Place the fennel on a serving platter and sprinkle with the garlic, parsley, and olives.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice until it looks creamy yellow and pour evenly over the fennel. Serve at room temperature.


Spareribs Braised with Artichoke and Fennel Leaves

The first thing we think of when we hear pork spareribs is barbecued spareribs. Rightfully so, as it is classic. There are other ways of cooking spareribs and here’s one of them. In this preparation the spareribs are cut into their individual ribs and then braised with artichoke foundations and fennel leaf in a little olive oil and red wine.  The chile can be used for color as well as a zing in taste.  I would accompany the spareribs with green beans.

Pork Spareribs with Artichoke and Fennel Leaf
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Pork
Cuisine: Italian-American
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds pork spareribs, cut into separate ribs
  • 2 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed (optional)
  • ½ cup dry white or red wine
  • 4 sprigs fresh fennel leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 raw artichoke foundations, sliced
  • 2 small fresh red chiles
  1. In a flameproof casserole, heat the olive oil over high heat with the garlic clove until it begins to turn light brown. Remove and discard the garlic. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the pork and cook until all sides are browned, stirring almost constantly, 2 minutes. A brown crust will form on the bottom of the pan during cooking, along with a lot of smoke, but don't worry. Melt in the anchovies, if using, about 15 seconds.
  2. De-glaze the casserole by pouring in the wine and stir, scraping the crust at the bottom of the casserole with a wooden spoon until it lifts off. Reduce the heat to very low, using a heat diffuser, if necessary, and season with the fennel, salt, pepper. Add the artichoke foundations, cover, and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2½ hours. Serve hot garnished with the fresh red chile.


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