The Mughals felt that it was extremely important to understand the medicinal property of food. Mint and fennel seeds were thought to ease digestion – particularly when rich, fatty meat dishes were on the menu. This salad is light and summery and would be the perfect accompaniment to any roast meat. I will, of course, let you judge its digestive properties for yourself …
- 2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed at the base
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 ½ teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Large handful of pomegranate seeds
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1OOg rocket leaves
- Bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked
- Salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 200°c (180°C fan), gas mark 6.
Holding the fennel bulbs upright, cut them into approximately 1 cm-thick slices vertically from top to bottom. Brush both sides of each fennel slice with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Sprinkle over the crushed fennel seeds, chilli flakes and some salt and put into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the fennel has softened and charred slightly. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses to make a fruity dressing.
When you are ready to serve, dress the rocket leaves and fennel slices with the dressing and arrange on a large platter. Scatter the mint leaves over the salad and enjoy the fruity, aniseed taste sensation immediately.