Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Crisp Fennel Apple Salad

While I try to decide what to do with the pattern I mentioned the other day, I've been looking forward to this salad. I'm good at that. When I don't want to make a decision, I flip completely to another topic and think about that. Yay, diversions!

This salad, though, is definitely worth looking forward to. Because of the way the flavors of the fennel, apple and onion come together, it's a great match for a meat and potatoes kind of dinner. It's a simple salad, and somehow, for the simplicity, that much better.

Fennel, apple, onion, an orange, walnuts, and vinaigrette. That's it.

We ate this with ribs and roasted potatoes. The ribs were amazing, but rich. The potatoes were crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. And alongside was this salad - crisp and delicious with a tangy profile from the vinaigrette - a perfect foil to the ribs and a wonderful compliment to the potatoes.

In a perfect world, I like meals to have a variety of textures. I sometimes have trouble with risotto and macaroni and cheese for that very reason. This salad solves a lot of my problems.

I like it when things solve problems for me, don't you?

Fennel Apple Salad
Serves 4 as a side
1 bulb fennel
1/2 sweet onion
1 apple
1 orange
1/4 c. walnuts

1 t mustard
1 t lemon juice
2 T sherry vinegar
olive oil
Italian seasoning

  1. Remove the stalks from the fennel, leaving the bulb. Slice the bulb lengthwise, then into quarters. Cut out the tough, woody center and then slice the fennel into 1/8 inch sticks. Place them in a medium bowl.
  2. Slice the apple into quarters, then remove the core. Slice each quarter into 1/8 inch slices. Add them to the bowl.
  3. Peel the onion and cut it in half from top to bottom. Save half for something else. The half you're using for this you should slice into 1/8 inch slices and added to the bowl.
  4. Put the walnuts in a pan and heat over medium heat until they're toasty. It should take 5-10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on these - they go from cold to burnt more quickly than you'd think.
  5. To make the vinaigrette, put the everything but the oil into a small bowl. While whisking, add 4-7ish tablespoons olive oil until the vinaigrette comes together. Pour over the salad and stir to mix.
  6. Serve with something yummy; though this is also really good in the summer by itself.

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