Shaved Fennel and Apple Salad with Sultanas, Mint, and Almonds

By • January 11, 2011 • 11 Comments

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Author Notes: Ras el Hanout, or “top of the shop” in Arabic, refers to the best combination of spices a vendor has to offer. Since one vendor’'s stock might differ from the next, each blend of Ras el Hanout is slightly varied. The blend I used in this recipe (Mustapha’s Moroccan Ras el Hanout) includes coriander, white pepper, black pepper, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, anise, saffron, piment fort, long pepper cardamom, rose petals, nutmeg, mace, fennel and grains of paradise. It has an irresistible fragrance that is hard to describe, kind of a woodsy-cinnamon-ginger nose with a spicy, yet mellow, floral background. I used it to make brittle and thought it would pair nicely with a salad of shaved fennel and apples. The warm spices coax out the sweetness of the fennel and apples, making them taste candied, while mint provides a bright herbal contrast and the almonds give the salad texture. A shower of flaked sea salt rounds everything out and makes it difficult to stop eating. gingerroot

Food52 Review: I really loved this salad! It was bright and fresh with interesting flavors. I made this early in the day and enjoyed it immediately, but I thought my leftovers were even better. There was a lot going on here, but all of the flavors really complemented each other.A&M

Serves 4 to 5

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1 blood orange, halved
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas
  • 1/2 pound fennel bulb, top and end trimmed (weight of trimmed bulb)
  • 1/2 large sweet-tart apple, such as a Fuji
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, washed and dried
  • Good quality flaked sea salt (I use Murray Darling)
  1. Do Ahead: In a small bowl combine shallots, juice from half of the blood orange (reserve remaining half), and vinegars. Stir in raisins and allow mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure raisins are covered. Do not proceed until mixture has sat for 30 minutes. In the meantime, pour yourself a glass of wine, or get started with another part of your meal.
  2. Halve fennel bulb and core each half. Using a straight slicer (or mandoline) set over a large bowl, carefully shave fennel, until you can no longer safely cut the bulb. Repeat with the other half.
  3. Halve the apple and core each half. Carefully shave one apple quarter with the straight slicer (or mandoline) into the bowl with the fennel, until you can no longer safely cut the apple. Repeat with the remaining piece.
  4. Pour raisin-shallot-vinegar-blood orange mixture over apple and fennel pieces, lightly tossing with a small pair of tongs to evenly cover. Squeeze remaining blood orange half over fennel and apple and toss again.
  5. In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Do not let it smoke -- you just want the oil to move easily around the skillet. Add chopped almonds and allow nuts to toast for about a minute, stirring to coat. Add Ras el Hanout and cayenne. Spices should sizzle ever so slightly. Stir mixture with a spoon to combine. Cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
  6. Hold pan over your bowl with fennel/apple mixture. With a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, scrape oil-spice mixture to one side of hot pan and gently tip over fennel and apples. Make sure you get all of the oil, almonds and spices out of the skillet.
  7. Using small tongs or a similar tool, thoroughly toss to evenly cover salad with almonds and spiced oil. Plate salad on a long platter, making sure to get some almonds and raisins on top (they tend to end up at the bottom of the bowl). Finish the salad by sprinkling mint and a shower of flaked sea salt over the top. Serve and enjoy!
Jump to Comments (11)

Tags: crispy, Easy, elegant, light, quick, sweet, tart, warm

Comments (11) Questions (0)

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about 1 year ago Hilary G.

The ras al hanout made this killer! Overall it was intense, as fennel is, but very memorable. I forgot to add the almonds but loved mixing it all with chickpeas for a hearty picnic-able salad.

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over 1 year ago foxeslovelemons

This looks light and spring-y and delicious! Where do you find your sultanas?

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thank you foxeslovelemons! I found mine in the bulk bins at my local Whole Foods. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you give it a try.

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I love how this sounds! I'm definitely going to try this one!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much ChezSuzanne! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Let me know what you think.

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This sounds lovely!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks hardlikearmour! I hope you try it.

Bike2

over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Beautiful presentation, great medley of flavors!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks Sagegreen! It is very light and refreshing, and comes together quickly.

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over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

Oh, yum, gingerroot!!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, healthierkitchen!