Artichoke Heart, Fennel, and Tomato Salad

Artichoke Heart, Fennel, and Tomato Salad
From the kitchen of Chef Jeff

This salad is great as a side dish for BBQ meals.   I enjoy this salad with grilled lamb chops with rosemary.  The salad has an interesting combination of flavors and colors, making a great presentation when served.

Ingredients

2 jars (6 1/2 oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained (reserve marinade)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 head fennel (about 3 in. wide)
6 cups cherry tomatoes (use a mix of red, yellow, and orange, each about 3/4 in. wide), rinsed and drained
1 cup pitted calamata olives
1 cup lightly packed rinsed fresh basil leaves (3/4 to 1 1/2 in. long)
1/2 cup slivered red onion
Fresh-ground pepper

Preparation

1. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk 1/4 cup artichoke marinade (discard remainder or save for other uses), vinegar, mustard, and garlic.

2. Rinse and drain fennel. Cut off and save a few feathery green leaves for garnish. Trim off and discard remaining stalks, root end, and any bruised areas. Cut head in half lengthwise across widest dimension, then cut each half crosswise into paper-thin slivers.

3. Add fennel, tomatoes, olives, basil, onion, and artichoke hearts to dressing in bowl. Mix gently to coat. Garnish salad with reserved fennel leaves. Add pepper to taste.