Arugula and Fennel Salad

We have a garden. I am not a gardner but I seem to be the one that does all of the gardening. I really know next to nothing about growing things and that is my point today. This is the sum total of what I know: Plants need to be in dirt with some sort of nutrients (don’t know what those are); they need sun and water (don’t know how much) and weeds are bad. That’s it. Yet, every year I grow herbs, tomatoes, fennel, peppers, arugula and more tomatoes. I have glanced at gardening books then glaze over, have a sip of wine and go back to Julia Child or John Grisham. I always have the same thought: “You all seem to be over-thinking this whole deal.”

Now I know I will get letters, and I am sure that it is me that is under-thinking this gardening business, but we still have delicious tomatoes every year. Yes, I have some failure and I do know that I am lucky to live in Southern California where I control the rain and the sun is full of life and shows up every single day without fail. But still, planting stuff in the ground is not hard and takes very little time considering the wonderful and tasty rewards you reap after a few short months.

Sometimes there are even natural occurrences that I have nothing to do with but get to reap the rewards. This salad is the perfect example. I planted arugula in a pot last year. It didn’t really do much growing and we ate a few leaves. During the winter, winds blew the seeds into the garden next to the pot and now we have two giant arugula plants that are wonderful. I also planted fennel. It grew with a wonderful plume of fronds and at the end of the summer I dug (thinking that is where the bulb would be) and got nothing. I thought I had bought the wrong kind of fennel plant. This year we have had giant fennel bulbs after the plant came back all on it’s own. I know, they are probably supposed to do this, but I was oblivious and extremely happy to get to eat what I had (accidently) sown.


  • Handful Accidental Arugula
  • 1 Accidental Fennel Bulb
  • Good, Nutty Parmesan Cheese
  • Lemon
  • Olive Oil


  • Chef’s Knife
  • Salad Bowl
  • Fine Grater
  • Hand Juicer (optional)
  1. Clean and julienne the fennel. 
  2. Thoroughly wash and pat dry the arugula. My garden is organic (I wouldn’t know how to make it anything but organic).
  3. Toss together in the bowl.
  4. Shave or grate a good bit of parmesan on top.
  5. Add a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil and toss. I usually don’t add salt and pepper because the cheese is slightly salty and the arugula is peppery. 
  6. Grate a bit more cheese on top and serve.

One comment on “Arugula and Fennel Salad

  1. Karen says:

    You definitely have an advantage with all the California sun. Good for you and continued luck with your garden.

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