Sam and I are big on texture. We love crunch, and when it is mingled with some luscious creaminess, we are very happy! So, for lunch the other day, I started playing with some fresh ingredients to make a salad that would meet our cravings while being healthy.
I know that fennel is not the most popular veggie around, and many people seem to approach it by sauteing or baking…but it is utterly divine eaten raw. It’s lovely crunchiness is made even better by it’s slight licorice sweetness. Pairing it with the subtle sweetness of butter lettuce and some juicy pears makes for a VERY refreshing salad. Even if you are not huge on raw fennel, the dressing is worth a try! Just replace the fennel with some jicama or something crunchy.
This salad is so fresh, buttery, and sweet that it is a perfect addition to your summer BBQ.
Check it out:
1/2 c white wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
2 oranges zest & juice
pinch of salt
1/4 c creme fraiche
1 fennel bulb
1/2 c pecans chopped
Zest and juice your two oranges, and add the 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar to balance the sweetness.
Strip the leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme.
(You can always use dried, but I prefer the taste of fresh. Just make sure to use less if you are using dried, because the flavor will be stronger.)
Add some fresh cracked pepper and sea salt.
Whisk in your 1/4 cup of olive oil and add the creme fraiche for a luscious tang!
To prepare the fennel, I chopped the bulb in half and removed the end before slicing thin half-moon slices. When using raw fennel, I prefer to make the slices very thin. You will still get that crunch factor, but the anise flavor will never be too strong, as the thin slices will be dispersed better in every bite.
Once the fennel is sliced, go ahead and add the dressing. I want the dressing flavor to meld with the fennel while I continue chopping all the rest of the ingredients.
“If you can’t stand the heat >>”
Now it is just a chop and add situation. I kept the chop on the pear a little chunky so that I would get some nice juicy bites and so that the pear would keep it’s shape during tossing (no thin mushy pieces please).
Time for some creamy avocado.
And for a little more crunch, I added pecans.
On your serving plate, prepare a nice pile of cupped butter lettuce leaves and heap you creamy, juicy salad right in the center.
This salad can easily serve as a light main course, or work alongside whatever you have got on the BBQ. It’s sweetness would be perfect with pork, fish or chicken!
Bon apetit and happy June!
Photos Credit to: Jessica Helton