So a couple of weekends ago, my mom and I went to this really cool thing in Cincinnati (and it's not often that I get to type the words "really cool thing in Cincinnati"). It was the inaugural Cincinnati Food and Wine Festival, and it was pretty much a food bloggers dream. I got books signed by Joy from Joy the Baker and Jessica from How Sweet Eats — both are as lovely as they seem on their blogs — and I got to watch a few cooking demonstrations and competitions. One of my favorite events of the day was a demonstration by chef Nathan Lyon, where he made this apple and fennel salad from his cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh. As soon as my mom and I tried it, we both knew we had to buy the book so we could make this at home.
I've talked here before about what elements I think every salad needs, and this salad checks every item off that list yet again. Salty from the walnuts and Parmesan, sweet from the apples and currants, crunchy from the fennel, this dish has it all. It is perfect as a starter salad, but tossed with some mixed greens, it could also make a satisfying main dish. This dish is also the perfect time to break out the mandoline slicer, but if you don't have one, fear not—a sharp knife will work just as well. And don't be scared by the fennel! It has such a subtle and crisp flavor, not overpowering or licorice-y as I had once feared.
Apple and Fennel Salad
Serves 4 as a starter size, 2 as a main dish
- 1 large apple, cut into matchsticks (about 2 cups)
- 1 large fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks (about 2 cups)
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
Combine the apple, fennel, shallot, currants, walnuts, parsley, vinegar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and several grinds black pepper. Toss to combine.
To serve, divide the salad onto four plates and drizzle each with a little olive oil. Using a vegetable peeler, top each salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings.
adapted from Great Food Starts Fresh