Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fennel & Apple Salad w/Pecans

I never got around to posting that leftover turkey potpie recipe, did I? But I have a good excuse. I made it, but I didn't measure anything or take a picture. Then I was going to make it again to write down the measurements and snap a few photos...but then I realized I was so. sick. of. turkey. O well, you are too, right?

Here is something better--a light and beautiful salad with a really interesting combination of flavors. The hint of licorice flavor from the paper-thin slices of fennel plays off the sweet apple, which is also sliced into thin leaves. The simple lemony dressing brings the salad together, and the pecans add the perfect crunchy compliment. This dish includes seasonal ingredients without being heavy, which can sometimes be a challenge this time of year when the fresh produce lends itself more to hearty, heavy foods.

I served this salad with pan-seared halibut, simply seasoned with salt and pepper and served with ginger butter. Nic decided to make his into a sandwich, and I'm so glad he did. The halibut, ginger butter, and fennel and apple salad made a truly delicious fish sandwich, even if it was not particularly photogenic. Nic loved it so much, he called his dad to tell him about it before he even finished eating. (The halibut came from Nic's dad after all of ours went bad in the aforementioned freezer debacle.)

When my mom left a bulb and a half of fennel in my fridge last weekend, I had no idea what I was going to do with, but I'm so glad that she left it. Otherwise, I would have never thought to make this. I grew up eating fennel or finocchio, the Italian word for this vegetable (I didn't know the name for it in English until I was an adult), but only around Christmas time and usually by itself, picked from a plate with celery sticks and black olives.

I got to use my slicer for the first time to create the leafy apple and fennel slices. You could also use a mandolin, but this little guy is cheaper. You can get one at most kitchen stores, this one is from Williams-Sonoma. You might even be able to use a good vegetable peeler, but I haven't tried that. The best part about dinner tonight? The entire meal came together in 20 minutes.

Fennel & Apple Salad
Makes 2 large servings

1 bulb fennel
1 apple (about the same size as the fennel bulb)
juice from one lemon
1 to 2 tsp. olive oil
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

- Cut off the root end of the fennel. Using a mandolin or another kitchen gadget, thinly slice the the bulb of the fennel, stopping when you get to the stalks. (These can be reserved for another use.) Use the tool to do the same thing with the apple, turning to slice all sides and stopping before you get to the core.
-In a large bowl combine the fennel and the apple with the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and toss to combine.
-Plate the salad and top with chopped pecans. Garnish with fronds from fennel top.


Peabody said...

What a great salad.

Andrea said...

Beautiful dinner!

Anonymous said...

lol @ the fact that my mouth is ACTUALLY watering. this looks great!