Moroccan Eden Salad with Apples, Fennel and Arugula

By • January 9, 2011 7 Comments

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Author Notes: Biblical scholars debate whether it was an apple or a pomegranate the snake gave to Eve. Whichever fruit offered the temptation, both are in this salad, along with several more ancient Middle Eastern ingredients such as chickpeas, fennel, goat cheese, preserved lemons, and the aphrodisiac spice mix in raz el hanout. The apple blended into the dressing gives it a creamy texture which combines well with the warm spiciness of cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger, and the unusually bright and tart preserved lemons. This tempting and colorful salad is a seductive balance of salty, sweet, sour, with just a little bitter. - robinbethrobinbeth

Food52 Review: Robinbeth's Moroccan Eden salad is an absolute joy for the senses. A vibrant palette of greens, creams, violets, and reds plate up very prettily on plain white plates. The warm and aromatic spices of the ras el hanout dressing linger delicately, as you sink into bursts of sweet, savory, sour, and salty—each bite being a just bit different than the last, in a very pleasant way, depending upon where your fork had landed. We loved that this salad satisfies so many cravings in a single bound and is perfect as a meal in itself.Jennifer Ann

Serves 4

Raz el Hanout and Preserved Lemon Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons high quality white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup or unrefined sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons raz el hanout
  • 2 tablespoons tablespoons preserved lemons, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple (crisp and sweet variety such as fuji, honeycrisp, or pink lady), peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Fennel, Arugula and Apple Salad

  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup or unrefined sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups apples (crisp and sweet variety such as fuji, honeycrisp, or pink lady), chopped in 1/4 inch sticks
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Moroccan oil-cured olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3/4 cup chick peas, preferably unsalted, canned or soaked and cooked until soft
  • 1/2 cup aged goat cheese or mild goat milk feta, crumbled
  • fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
  1. Thinly slice the red onion, from stem to root. Blanch the onion crescents in boiling water for a quick minute, drain, and place into a bowl with vinegar, sugar, and cracked black pepper. Allow to sit and become a quick pickle for half an hour or more while the rest of the salad is assembled.
  2. Cut preserved lemon into quarters and rinse off excess salt and brine, and remove any seeds. Assemble dressing by blending together vinegar, sugar, spice, preserved lemon, and apple until smooth. Slowly blend in oil. Pulse in mint at the very end. Add pepper to taste. The dressing should not need any salt because of the salt in the lemon.
  3. Slice the fennel bulb paper thin (using a mandoline if available). Mix with arugula, roughly chopped mint, chick peas, chopped pistachios, and olives. NOTE: Because the preserved lemons and oil-cured olives are both salty, it is best to use unsalted pistachios and chickpeas, and mild feta if possible. You can always add salt at the end if needed.
  4. Remove seeds from pomegranate by scoring the skin and breaking fruit open. Gently pull out seeds and add 1/2 cup to salad mix.
  5. Halve and core the apples, leaving the peel on. Slice the apple from top to bottom into 1/4 inch slices. Turn slices on their side and cut into 1/4 inch sticks. Place cut apple into a bowl and toss with the juice of half a lemon to keep from browning. Add apples to salad.
  6. Drain vinegar from pickled onions and add to salad. Mix together, toss with enough dressing to lightly graze everything. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Top with crumbled cheese. Serve with warm pita.

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