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Ethnic Sensations
September 2015



Shaved Asparagus and Fennel Salad with Meyer Lemon and Hazelnut Dressing


Shaved Asparagus and Fennel Salad with Meyer Lemon and Hazelnut Dressing
By Heidi Allison




Great bistro salads are seasonal and balanced – and this dish is an homage to that great French tradition. In this recipe, two types of asparagus are used – white and green – which lend different flavors, textures and complexity to this dish. Similar to endive, white asparagus has a slightly bitter grace note and a softer texture compared to the sweeter, more vegetal-tasting green variety. The fennel, both the bulb and its bright green fronds (looks like dill), impart a slightly sweet, anise-like flavor and a refreshing, crisp texture. The toasted pumpkin seeds add a bit of textural crunch. This simple salad makes a fabulous light dinner, starter course or refreshing side.

There are several tricks that make this salad work: marinating the veggies in the freshly-squeezed citrus juice for 5-10 minutes before serving allows the orange-lemon flavor of the Meyer lemon to complement the fennel – an iconic flavor pairing. It’s also crucial that the fennel bulb is thinly sliced (about ¼ inch thickness), which retains its refreshing crispness without being tough. And the cheese adds a bit of decadent creaminess to the mix.

Shaved Asparagus and Fennel Salad with Meyer Lemon and Hazelnut Dressing
Serves: 4


Ingredients:

Ingredients:  Shaved Asparagus and Fennel Salad with Meyer Lemon and Hazelnut Dressing


1 bulb Fennel (with fronds)
5 White Asparagus, thick-stemmed variety
1 bunch Green Asparagus, thick-stem variety
3 Tablespoons Organic Raw Pumpkin Seeds, lightly toasted
4 ounces Ricotta Salata Cheese, crumbled (can substitute with goat cheese)
2 Meyer Lemons
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Roasted Hazelnut Oil
Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Preparation:

Cut the fennel fronds off the bulb and set aside. Over a large bowl, place a Japanese beringer slicer or mandolin, and slice the fennel bulb into ¼ inch slices.

Gently run a vegetable peeler lengthwise down from the base to the bottom of the tips to remove the woody, tough outer skin, avoiding the tip. Cut ½ inch off the stem end and remove the tips (save for an omelet or soup), then rinse in salt water and set aside to dry on a kitchen towel.


Gently run a vegetable peeler lengthwise down from the base to the bottom of the tips to remove the woody, tough outer skin, avoiding the tip. Cut ½ inch off the stem end and remove the tips (save for an omelet or soup), then rinse in salt water and set aside to dry on a kitchen towel.

With a sharp vegetable peeler, slice both white and green asparagus into strips lengthwise and place into bowl.


With a sharp vegetable peeler, slice both white and green asparagus into strips lengthwise and place into bowl.

Squeeze lemon juice over shaved asparagus and fennel, and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the citrus juice to infuse flavor into the asparagus and fennel.


Squeeze lemon juice over shaved asparagus and fennel, and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the citrus juice to infuse flavor into the asparagus and fennel.

Drizzle the salad with honey and hazel nut oil until lightly coated; then sprinkle with fennel fronds and lightly toss again.

Place prepared salad on chilled serving plates and top with cheese and freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkling of Kosher flake salt to taste.