The pleasant aniseed flavour of fresh fennel combines with flageolet beans, green olives, Parma ham and a fresh orange dressing in this appetising warm salad. Serve it with crusty French bread for a satisfying lunch.
C, E, folate, potassium, A, B1, B6, calcium, zinc
To make a pepper and cannellini bean salad with omelette strips, combine 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 finely chopped shallot, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp shredded fresh basil, and salt and pepper to taste in a salad bowl. Whisk to mix. Add 2 red peppers, seeded and roughly chopped, 1 can cannellini beans, about 410 g, drained and rinsed, and 75 g (2½ oz) stoned black olives. Cook 115 g (4 oz) green beans in boiling water for 4 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold running water. Add to the bowl. Beat together 3 large eggs and 3 tbsp water, then stir in 2 tbsp shredded fresh basil and 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives. Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a 20 cm (8 in) non-stick frying pan, pour in the egg mixture and cook for 2–3 minutes or until the omelette is set, lifting the edges so the liquid egg can run onto the pan. Cut the omelette into strips, place on top of the salad and serve.
*Bulb fennel was first cultivated by the Egyptians. It provides useful amounts of potassium and folate, as well as phytoestrogen, a naturally occurring plant hormone that may be helpful in protecting against breast cancer.
*Parma ham is the best known of the Italian salted, air-dried prosciuttos (the Italian word for ham). It is very lean, as long as you trim off visible fat, and has a wonderful flavour.