Crisp white finocchio rings, glossy black olive wedges, firm strips of red bell pepper—all sprinkled with parsley—give this simple salad a liveliness of appearance, texture, and taste that more complex compositions seldom equal.
Cut off the tops of the finocchio and discard any of the stalks that are bruised, discolored, or wilted. Trim the base, cutting off a slice about ⅛inch thick. Cut the finocchio horizontally, across its length, into the thinnest slices you can, to produce ¼-inch rings. Soak the slices in 2 or 3 changes of cold water, drain them, and dry them thoroughly, using a salad spinner or simply wrapping them in a towel and shaking them sharply. Place the finocchio slices in a salad bowl or deep serving platter.
Remove all seeds and any of the whitish core from the ½ pepper. Pare away the skin with a peeler, as described. Cut the pepper into strips about 1inch long and ¼inch wide. Add these to the salad bowl.
Cut the olives into very thin wedges. Discard the pits and add the olives to the bowl. Put in the optional hot peppers. On top sprinkle the chopped parsley.
Just before serving, toss the salad with the olive oil, salt, generous grindings of pepper, and the vinegar.