Holiday Entertaining

The Fennel Countdown: Your New Favorite Salad

November  5, 2015

In celebration of Le Pain Quotidien's 25th anniversary, and inspired by a seasonal lunch with their bread and salads, we're sharing recipes and all-year-round tips for breaking bread together. 

Shaved Fennel and Apple Salad with Sultanas, Mint, and Almonds, pictured here with a Le Pain Quotidien boule. Hubba, hubba.

In a fight against limp lettuce and ho-hum vinaigrettes, we're taking up arms: tempura-ing vegetables, blending sourdough into dressing, and even defending salad's merits when need be. And, now, we're macerating sultanas and minced shallot in a blood orange-vinegar mixture, toasting almonds in olive oil and ras el hanout, and shaving fennel and apple for one distinctly not-sad-salad. They say the best defense is a good offense.

More: The secret to creamy, dairy-free vinaigrette.

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With plenty of crunch, heat from the spice-coated almonds, and slight sweetness from the sultanas and dressing, this salad gives you what great salads should: a plethora of varying, yet cohesive, textures and flavors. And, like other great salads, it's adaptable. Don't have a blood orange? Use a regular, navel orange. No sultanas? Golden raisins, raisins, or even currants will do! Does even the mention of ras el hanout deter you? Follow the ingredient list in this recipe to make an ad hoc version with spice rack staples. 

However, be warned: Once you go ras el hanout, you don't go back. There's a reason the North African spice blend—which, while greatly diverse, often includes cumin, coriander, clove, and a whole bunch of other spices—is a staple in Moroccan cuisine. You'll want to put it on everything, and you should—because in salads, spice is right. 

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

Serves 4 to 5 

tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced shallot
blood orange, halved
teaspoons sherry vinegar
 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
 tablespoons sultanas
pound fennel bulb, top and end trimmed
 large sweet-tart apple, such as a Fuji
 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
cup whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
 teaspoon ras el hanout
1/8 to 1/4 
teaspoons cayenne, to taste
 cup fresh mint, washed and dried
Good quality flaked sea salt 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom 

In celebration of Le Pain Quotidien's 25th anniversary—and their use of fresh ingredients—we're sharing seasonal recipes and all-year-round tips for breaking bread together. 

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