Make Ahead

The Juicy Crunchy Trifecta Salad

March 14, 2012
1 Ratings
Photo by aargersi
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

Cheese1227's (brilliantly named) date night salad reminded me of this, one of my favorite salads that I haven't made in a while because I've been too busy trying new combinations. But, the combination of celery with Asian pear and fennel gives you this amazing wave of juicy crunchy texture along with the interplay of sweet, salty, and anise-y. The simple lemon dressing tastes similarly fresh and fruity, and the shavings of Grana Padano and toasty hazelnuts are very important for crunchy nuttiness.
I get mandolin happy with this salad and slice everything into thin, gangly slices that get all jumbled and tangled together. I really like this effect. If you don't, you can cut everything into small wieldy pieces instead.
And, I'm not going to require you to make brittle to do this but - and I know this sounds kind of crazy, but it's seriously delicious - if you have some sea-salty caramel brittle around, crunch up a handful of small shards and scatter them over the salad. Seriously. Dessert and salad can get along just fine. —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

This salad truly is a trifecta – juicy crisp pear, mildly sweet fennel, and crunchy celery are all nicely accented with a lemon tang, nutty parmesan and toasty hazelnuts. This is quite possibly the perfect warm afternoon salad. It is easy to make, you get to use your mandolin (carefully!) and it has the extra bonus of being good for you. —aargersi

What You'll Need
  • 1 fennel bulb, washed and trimmed, a handful of fronds reserved
  • 1 Asian pear, cut in half and cored
  • 4 fat stalks of celery (or 6 slimmer ones), leaves removed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, toasted hazelnuts
  • 1-2 ounces Grana Padano (or good Parmesan)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Thinly slice your fennel bulb and Asian pear halves on a mandolin. Cut the celery stalks on the bias into 1/4 inch slices. Put them all in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. (If you want to add in some shards of sea salt brittle, do it at this point so it gets tossed in.) Toss everything together until it's all a tangled mess and well-coated with the dressing.
  2. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the toasted hazelnuts and a small handful of reserved fennel fronds over the salad. Ase a vegetable peeler to make elegant curls of cheese, and sprinkle these all over the salad as well.
  3. Serve! (It's rather tasty eaten directly out of the bowl, as I am wont to do with this one.)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Synky
  • aargersi
  • Ms. T
    Ms. T
  • Bevi
  • fiveandspice

14 Reviews

blanchette April 7, 2013
I just made this and it's so lovely!
fiveandspice April 8, 2013
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. It's one of our favorites.
Synky April 10, 2012
Made this salad tonight for dinner. Wasn't sure if my four year old was going to eat it......she totally did! A heaping plate too! Excellent recipe, great proportions, lovely taste. I replaced the hazelnuts with peanuts, worked great. Thank you!
fiveandspice April 10, 2012
That is completely fabulous! Happy to hear you all enjoyed it. I'm always so thrilled when I hear about kids eating their veggies! :)
aargersi April 6, 2012
Had this again last night! Still a big two yums UP!!!
fiveandspice April 6, 2012
Ms. T. March 29, 2012
Looks fantastic! I'm saving this for when it's harvest time for my asian pear tree--I never know what to do with all of them. Congrats on the CP!
fiveandspice April 3, 2012
Hi MsT! Sorry I'm late to respond, but thanks so much for your comment! And LUCKY you to have an Asian pear tree! How cool.
aargersi March 19, 2012
Right up my alley and I need to get back on the salad wagon STAT after vacay eating ... YUM!
fiveandspice March 19, 2012
Thanks A! Rollin' on the salad wagon is a grand place to be. :) (Oh, and on a side note, your cherry-amaretto jam has now been demolished in the blink of an eye. Double yum!)
Bevi March 17, 2012
fiveandspice March 18, 2012
That's so awesome! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Bevi!
Bevi March 15, 2012
As a huge salad lover I can appreciate the direct from bowl to mouth approach. This sounds really good! I'll make it tomorrow.
fiveandspice March 16, 2012
:). I'm a huge salad lover too, and I can't tell you how many of my meals have consisted of a frighteningly large salad direct from the bowl!