This salad has features three forms of fennel: the raw feathery fronds, sautéed bulb and toasted seeds. If you enjoy an extra hint of sweetness, substitute Trader Joe's packaged candied walnuts for the toasted nuts. —Ann S
small bulb fennel, with stalks and fronds
small yellow onion, diced
extra virgin olive oil
green onions, finely diced
large sweet apple
large handful arugula leaves, roughly chopped or torn
apple cider vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
walnut pieces (or candied walnutsâ€”see headnote)
Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes after cooking then fluff with a fork and cool.
Remove fennel stalks and fronds from bulb. Finely chop one stalk and a few fronds and place in a large mixing bowl. Reserve the remaining stalks for another use (they make a great herbal tea, just steep in boiling water for 5 minutes).
Core fennel bulb and cut bulb into cubes about 1/2 inch in size. Heat one tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add fennel bulb and onion. Sauté until both are soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water, then cook vegetables until they are tender, about 5 minutes more. By the end of cooking the liquid will have cooked off. If it hasn't turn up the heat a bit to encourage the process. Turn off heat and cool the vegetables.
Place fennel seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. Toast until seeds are fragrant and beginning to turn light brown. Shake pan frequently to prevent burning. The seeds will toast quickly. Cool.
Place cooked vegetables, fennel seeds, green onion, apple and arugula into the bowl with the quinoa. Add two tablespoons olive oil, vinegar and salt (go easy on the salt since the feta will add more) and pepper to taste. Fold the ingredients together gently to combine.
Toast the nuts in a dry skillet as you did the seeds until they begin to brown in patches. Watch carefully so they don't burn. Cool slightly, break into pieces and sprinkle on top of salad. If using candied walnuts, skip the toasting. Distribute cheese cubes over the salad and serve.