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april’s green

I’m a sometimes-fan of raucous saturated vibrant in-your-face wild and wonderful jungle colors. But there’s something so gently sweet, so calm and mild about April’s green that fills me with a quiet contented peace. I love it when a color can do that.

Things have been busy around here, and are about to get noisy and busier still. I’m a creature of habit. I reach for things in certain places and expect to find them there.  I’m trying to ready myself for many of the common little things in my life trading places with each other ~ and for flying by the seat of my pants ~ and for setting aside comfortable knowns for “I wonder where?”s.  I’ll explain in a post coming soon. For now, I’m quite content to feast on nearly-April’s quiet. Of course, no sooner do I say that than I realize this isn’t just about me…but generally this blog does tend to be about what we eat around here. I hope you’re alright with that…I haven’t discovered a better way.

Last night I pulled some of those pale greens and creamy whites from the fridge and they became our salad. It was good enough to fix again for my lunch today, and even so good as to make me want to share it with you. So, here you are…

A salad of shaved fennel bulb – crisp and with its tinge of licorice-ness ~ thinly sliced apple, crisp and tartly sweet ~  Romaine lettuce, crisp and clean ~ (you’re getting the idea) ~ very thinly sliced red onion, just a touch to add a gentle bite (more like a friendly nip) ~ and shavings of fairly smoky, salty pecorino Romano cheese. Tossed in a bright vinaigrette ~ flavored with a just touch of roasted and crushed fennel seeds. Scatter a shower of a few more toasted fennel seeds on top if you like.

Fennel & Apple Green Salad with shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese

for 2

  • ½ of a large head of romaine lettuce
  • ½ apple – fresh, crisp and tart
  • ½ medium to large fennel bulb – stalks removed
  • about ¼ red onion, very thinly sliced (you could replace with green onion if you like)
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese – shaved – in whatever quantity pleases you

Fennel Vinaigrette

for 2

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoon sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar of your choice – not balsamic)
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds (dry roasted in a small skillet over medium low heat) – OPTIONAL – if you’d like a scattering of toasty fennel seeds on top your dressed salad, roast up to 1 teaspoon of seeds, grinding half for the dressing and scattering the rest whole

Prepare the vinaigrette in a small jar by adding all dressing ingredients, shake, and set aside for flavors to blend.

Slice a head of romaine lettuce lengthwise. Lop off the bottom inch or so. Chop the half-head in 1-inch slices. Then, wash and dry. (Salad spinners come in awfully handy for a job like this. Or simply wrap the leaves gently in several kitchen towels and pat to absorb excess water.) Put back in the fridge to keep cool.

Prepare the fennel – remove the stalks and either discard or set aside for another purpose. Or save some of the delicate fronds for garnish or to toss into the salad. I forgot to. Slice the bulb in half from top to base. Using a very sharp knife or mandolin, slice half the fennel bulb in very thin slices. Add to a salad bowl.

Prepare the apple – cut in half. Core and thinly slice. Add to salad bowl.

Onion – if using red onion, slice paper-thin. Add to bowl. If using green onion, slice into narrow rounds.Toss the fennel, apple and onion in the vinaigrette. Allow to sit five minutes. Then add the romaine and toss. Scatter with toasted fennel seeds if desired.

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For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here.

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46 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pretty and peaceful is right. I’ve never done a thing with a fennel bulb (I know, I know), but this seems like such a great use. I do know I love all those flavors. Together they must make a fantastic spring salad. (I can’t get over those plates!)

    March 27, 2012
    • Oh Ashley, it’s time you tried shaved fennel! And when you do please try it with apple – it will knock your socks plum off! And if you try it with pecorino (which I know you love) you’ll regret the years you did without it! 😉

      March 27, 2012
  2. I love fennel. But I’ve only ever had it cooked! I’ve layered it in a vegetable parm, had it sauteed as a side dish — mmm. Now you’ve given me another way to enjoy it, raw and in a salad. Thanks!

    March 27, 2012
    • Happy Kids (etc) 🙂 – I love it sautéed too. In fact, I think I like fennel every which way! I like your idea of it in a vegetable Parmesan too! Hmmm… 🙂 now you’ve got me thinking!

      March 27, 2012
  3. Looks light and lovely – love the idea of the fennel dressing with the shaved fennel! Hard to believe it is almost April, hey? Crazy…
    Gorgeous Spree!

    March 27, 2012
    • Thanks Shira! Crazy nuts, yes, but ready or not, here it comes! (and we’re ready for it!) 🙂

      March 27, 2012
  4. spreesgratefulguineapig #

    This really was a fresh and clean tasting salad. Very tasty! Very Spreengie.

    March 27, 2012
  5. darlyn912 #

    Looks fantastic. Always wanting to impress my ski friends and this one will do it at our next pot luck party

    March 27, 2012
  6. darlyn912 #

    Always wanting to impress my ski friends with a new recipe and this one will do it at the next pot luck.

    March 27, 2012
  7. What a lovely salad.

    March 27, 2012
  8. spreesgratefulguineapig #

    Yay it’s almost Spreeng!

    March 27, 2012
  9. First…the photo alone makes you want to make it immediately. I love fennel in salad and the apple sounds like a perfect match. Since I have an apple orchard, you know this will be a regular on our table this fall. Thank you Spree!

    March 27, 2012
    • So my pleasure Karen! Enjoy!

      March 28, 2012
  10. What a great salad!

    March 27, 2012
  11. Gorgeous green salad. I am craving the crunchy greens!

    March 27, 2012
    • This has crispy crunch for sure! I think you’d like! 😉

      March 28, 2012
  12. This sounds good. I’m thinking crispy, green pear instead of apple though.

    March 27, 2012
    • Pear would be delicious as well.

      March 28, 2012
  13. This sounds like a wonderfully crisp salad, Spree. I’ve been a fan of raw fennel since I was a boy but only recently have I started using it in salads. Using it with apples or, as Sharyn suggests, pears, sounds really great!

    March 27, 2012
    • Well, and as you know John, everything (including raw fennel) goes better with cheese. 😉

      March 28, 2012
  14. Simply Wow!!

    March 27, 2012
  15. What a purely happy little green salad.. filled with the best ingredients from your kitchen and imagination, spree:) I’m excited to read about the upcoming events in your life!! xoxo Smidge

    March 27, 2012
    • aw, you’re sweet Smidge! It’ll be fun to share with you! 🙂

      March 28, 2012
  16. This looks like the future home for rest of the fennel bulb that I used half of yesterday! I like to make a slaw of thinly shaved fennel, juicy apples, and celery (or red pepper)–this looks just a bit more elegant and sophisticated with all the good crunch.

    March 27, 2012
    • Emmy, your salad sounds positively lovely! Happy we found a place for that fennel’s second half!

      March 28, 2012
  17. This sounds amazing Ani, I can’t wait to try it. If I can pick up some fennel on my way back from my daughter’s school I will try this for lunch

    March 28, 2012
    • Twas so good for my lunch Sawsan. If you try, would love to know what you thought !

      March 28, 2012
  18. Perfect and I adore fennel. Will have to put pecorino on my “wish list” for the next batch fo UK visitors as we can´t get it here. Mind you, I could use a mature sheep´s milk cheese instead which is simialr (but not quite the same)!

    March 28, 2012
    • Not the same, but a good hard salty cheese of sheep would be good too!

      March 28, 2012
    • Hey Chica, sorry to butt in but I think I can help… You can get Pecorino in Sainsbury’s – my local one is quite small and they sell it, cheaper than Parmesan too!

      March 29, 2012
      • Fantastic that you could lead Tanya in the right direction! Thank you Rock Salt for chiming in!

        March 29, 2012
      • Wonderful, next time I am in the UK (or someone comes over from the UK to visit us), will make sure I pop in there…and I like their “Taste the Difference” Smoked Streaky Bacon too so I´ll be able to stock up on lots of goodies 🙂

        March 29, 2012
  19. Oh yes Ani, now you are talking my most fav food, the combination here sounds amazing, I am off for some hunting gathering – in Tescos!

    March 28, 2012
    • Your fave is fennel? So good to know! 🙂

      March 28, 2012
      • Tried it tonight, was so scrummy – will be a regular now, love the taste of fennel and apple together a marriage made in heaven 🙂 Served it with twice baked souffles!

        March 29, 2012
        • Oh Lesley, what a brilliant go-together! Numm! Really really happy you liked it! 🙂

          March 29, 2012
  20. Looks delicious and what a beautiful photo’s!!! 🙂

    March 28, 2012
  21. Why, thank you Dutch! 😉

    March 28, 2012
  22. This salad is lovely 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    March 28, 2012
    • My pleasure, BlueJelly! 🙂

      March 29, 2012
  23. so fresh and light just a beautiful way to bring in spring. Take care, BAM

    March 28, 2012
    • Bam – in these parts, we’re sort of “willing” Spring to come – and hoping that includes a bit of sunshine. A salad can’t hurt, right? 🙂

      March 29, 2012
  24. Fennel and apple or pear sounds like a perfect spring salad – thanks!

    March 29, 2012
  25. Val #

    Love the simplicity of this salad. I’m planning to grow fennel in the plot this year, so I’ll be trying this out for sure!

    April 2, 2012

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