springtime baseball and roasted broccoli & fennel salad with pickled onion vinaigrette

After a few late season snowstorms, spring has (finally) arrived in Denver. Outdoor festivals are popping up all over the city, patio-dining is in full-swing and our garden is starting to take off (I know, right, we have a garden!). And if all that isn't springy enough, baseball season has begun in earnest.   
I had never been to Coors Field and I really wanted to check it out. We also thought it was time to take Otis and Theo to their first baseball game, so my husband got on Stubhub and purchased four $6 tickets (how great is that?!). Then we made our way over to the stadium to watch our hometown team (the NY Yankees) play our adopted city's team (the Colorado Rockies). I was feeling conflicted, and I wasn't sure which team to root for...

My mom grew up on the Grand Concourse, just a few blocks away from Yankee stadium. My maternal grandfather was also a Yankee fan, as was my Bronx-born father, my Bronx-born husband and my Manhattan-born father-in-law (who has rooted for the Yankees ever since San Francisco stole the the NY Giants back in 1957 ). And then there's me. I'm a from a little oasis in NYC, in the borough of The Bronx, called Riverdale. So you could say that there's some history when it comes to this Yankee stuff.
But a weird thing happened at the game last week; I began to see Yankee baseball as harbinger for our life's new path. Many of the Yankees I had cheered on from the bleachers were on the disabled list or retiring from the sport altogether. And that's when it hit me. Maybe it's time for a new team and some new traditions-- or at the very least, Otis and Theo should be encouraged to cheer on their (new) hometown team, who on that night, beat the Yankees 2-0. 

We've been eating a lot of our meals outdoors this week, and it's truly wonderful. In desperate need of more side dishes, I scoured my newly-borrowed-from-the-Denver-Public-Library cookbook for some ideas. I started off with this one for Roasted Broccoli and Fennel Salad with Picked Onion Vinaigrette. It was nutty and tangy and just plain delicious! The side dish went fast...
Roasted Broccoli & Fennel Salad with Pickled Onion Vinaigrette (From Family Table Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner, forward by Danny Meyers)
For the vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion


2 heads of broccoli (1 1/2-2 pounds total), cut into bite-sized florets, stems trimmed and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (I cut smaller slices)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
To Make the Vinaigrette: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the onion and whisk well. Set aside.

In a small bowl, toss the broccoli with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Put the fennel in another small bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season both with salt and pepper and spread on to separate baking sheets. Roast the broccoli until lightly browned and tender,  15 to 20 minutes. Roast the fennel until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Combine the vegetables and herbs in a serving bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

* Note: If you find that the dish is a little bit too vinegary, then just add a few pinches of sugar to balance it all out.