Aug 2, 2008

Avocado & Fennel Salad

Filed under: Recipes,salads,Sides — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Kay @ 5:06 pm

I’m seldom really hungry during the summer, especially when it’s as hot as it’s been here for the past week or so. A heavy meal is the last thing I want, so I’m going for a nice crunchy summer salad today. Here’s one of my favorite salads, serve it with grilled fish and you have an amazing meal. All the fresh flavors combine so well and the different textures make it a really interesting salad to eat.

Ingredients:

1/2 fennel bulb
Medium avocado
Lettuce
1/2 small red onion
1 orange
Pine nuts

Basic dressing:

3 tbsp olive oil
Lemon juice ( to taste)
Garlic
Salt & pepper

Optional: extra pair of hands

Directions:

I used rocket (salad leaves), roughly a good handful per person. Now rocket isn’t for everyone -it has a very nutty flavor that I’ve grown to like very much- but feel free to use your lettuce of choice. Romaine also works great.

Fennel, there’s not much I don’t love about it. So fragrant, so versatile. It works beautifully when eaten raw in a salad, but is also tasty in soups and stir fries. I just really like how the anise flavor comes out when you eat it raw.

I used half the bulb, take the core out and slice thinly using a very sharp knife. Whatever you do, don’t throw away the leaves!

On to the orange! I’m sure there are faster and more professional ways of doing this, but I just cut away the skin and end up with a square orange :)

Thinly slice the orange, and cut them up in bit sized pieces.

I love avocado. Aside from the pretty green color, the slightly nutty flavor, it’s also one of the most healthy things to eat. It’s an entire meal in and of itself where it comes to nutrients. Cut the avocado in half from top to bottom (or from the stem back to the stem), but never through the middle. It’s harder to remove the pit then.

Tip: if you only have to use half the avocado, save the half that still has the pit in it. Do not remove the pit! Drizzle some lemon juice over it, tightly wrap it in foil and store in the fridge.

Use a spoon to scoop the avocado out and cut it in slices. This is where the extra pair of hands come in handy when you’re the one holding the camera! Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the slices to prevent them from discoloring.

I used a very small red onion, and only used 1/2 of that. Slice as thinly as you possibly can, the onion should be an accent, not the main ingredient. No salad benefits from big chunks of raw onion.

Now for the dressing. Pour roughly 3 tablespoons olive oil in a bowl.

I know the French have hard and fast rules where it comes to a classic vinaigrette -typically three parts oil and one part acid- but hey, I’m Dutch, so who cares! I just squeeze lemon juice and taste until I’m happy with how it tastes!

Add garlic to taste. I (or better said my extra pair of hands) stopped at 1/3 of a clove. I want flavors to blend in and nothing to really stand out. Raw garlic can be overpowering and its flavor becomes even stronger overtime. Think about that when you make the dressing ahead of time!

Now I’m decadent in some areas, though! I don’t use plain salt for dishes like these, no, I raise you a Fleur de sel! Literally translated it means ‘Flower of salt’, and that’s so right on target. How it livens up everything it touches reminds me of the cheerfulness and delicacy of pretty flowers.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Here’s why I told you not to toss the fennel leaves! Chop them up and add them to the dressing.

Whisk until you have a slightly thicker and creamy looking consistency that looks like this.

Now for the fun part, at least this is the part I like best. It also gives me the chance to eat all those things that don’t fit into the salad anymore, and then I bitch about becoming too heavy. What can I say? I’m cursed, it’s a girl thing. Start layering the ingredients and finish with a small handful of pine nuts. You can toast them first but I prefer them like this, toasted does look better, though. Drizzle some dressing over the salad (or serve on the side in a fancy bowl).

You end up with a tasty, crispy and fresh summer salad.


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    7 Comments »

    1. 1

      This looks amazing and I will be trying it next weekend on our weekend getaway with no kids! This way I don’t have to hear any complaints ;-) Thanks!

      kashuma on Sep 22, 2008 @ 3:53 am Reply
    2. 2

      Kay,

      This looks fantastic. I’m sure you know this already, but you can slice/cube the avocado right in its skin with a small paring knife and then remove it with the spoon, it will be like an extra pair of hands… and less messy. I hate wasting avocado on the cutting board!

      I really enjoy your post, I’ve been on it for three hours continuously and have probably looked at all of your recipes!!

      Alyce

      Alyce on Dec 13, 2008 @ 4:33 am Reply
    3. 3

      This salad was delicious! It is the second recipe I have tried out from your food blog. I am from the US living in Switzerland and am always on the lookout for new recipes where I can actually find the ingredients here. Thanks!

      Valerie on Aug 6, 2009 @ 2:51 pm Reply
    4. 4

      Combination for this salad is delicious! Congratulations!

      Elena on Jan 28, 2011 @ 5:05 pm Reply
    5. 5

      a winner in my book!!! thank you for sharing, final pic is a favorite!!!

      Sasha on Dec 7, 2011 @ 2:34 am Reply
    6. 6

      Just had to let you know that I just finished enjoying this whole meal including potatoes and fennel salad.  It was totally amazing!  Found the recipe on pinterest and followed it here.  My 2013 goal is to cook a new recipe each week.  You were recipe #1 and a total success.  Thank you.  

      Gail Bidgood on Jan 6, 2013 @ 1:17 am Reply
    7. 7

      Just had to let you know that I just finished enjoying this whole meal including  chicken in pastry, potatoes and fennel salad.  It was totally amazing!  Found the recipe on pinterest and followed it here.  My 2013 goal is to cook a new recipe each week.  You were recipe #1 and a total success.  Thank you.  H

      Gail Bidgood on Jan 6, 2013 @ 1:18 am Reply

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