Shaved Fennel and Green Apple Salad with Meyer Lemon Cream and Toasted Pistachios
By Heidi Allison
It’s rare that a cold, freshly-prepared salad actually tastes better when allowed to marinate in its own dressing for several hours (or days), but this dish is the exception to the rule! The unappealing, tough texture of the raw fennel is tamed by thinly slicing the bulb on a mandolin to 1/8 inch thickness, then marinating the fennel slices in the salad dressing for a minimum of 3 hours (better the next day!), to create a refreshing, “slightly crisp” texture. This culinary trick of marinating the veggie/fruit mixture also enhances the natural flavors the tart green apple and sweet, anise-tasting fennel with a subtle “hint-of-orange” grace note from the Meyer lemon – a complex yet exquisite flavor pairing!
In this dish, its crucial you take the time to properly prep your veggies – shaving off the old outer, bruised layers of fennel bulb with a vegetable peeler makes this salad look fresh and appetizing – don't skip this step! Make sure to slice the fennel first; then the apples, and immediately toss with dressing, or the apples will turn brown. Although I love the rich flavor juxtaposition of the pistachios in this dish, you can change out the nuts for pomegranate seeds for a more sweet/tart flavor profile.
4 small Fennel
bulbs with fronds
2 Green Apples
¼ cup Pistachio Meats, raw
½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 teaspoon Roasted Hazelnut Oil
1 juicy Meyer Lemon
½ teaspoon Kosher Flake Salt
¼ teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Fresh Grapefruit Juice
Wash the fennel bulbs and cut off fronds. Wrap fronds in plastic bag and return to refrigerator.
Remove darken or bruised outer layers of fennel bulbs, or, remove with vegetable peeler and set aside.
Preheat a toaster oven to 250 degrees and place pistachios on a foil-lined baking tray and toast for about 10 minutes, shaking occasionally, until just crisp (do not burn). Set aside.
Make dressing by adding all ingredient to a measuring cup and whisking with a fork. Set aside.
Over a large bowl, slice fennel into ¼ inch thick slices. Cut green apples in quarters and slice vertically to ¼ inch thickness. Immediately toss fennel mixture with half of dressing, cover and place in refrigerator.
Cover remainder of dressing and place in refrigerator. After 3 hours (or next day), uncover fennel /apple mixture and toss again. Mound fennel /apple mixture on serving plates and place several fennel fronds on outside perimeter of salad and a few on top. Sprinkle with toasted pistachios and drizzle remaining dressing over top of salads and sprinkle with a light dusting of black pepper, then serve.
Note from the Author:
Great dish for pot luck or party!