This salad plate shines with bright flavors and vibrant colors. The gorgeous coral of the persimmons is visually uplifting and the walnut oil and toasted walnuts ground the salad and tone down the strong anise flavor of the raw fennel. The arugula is probably an optional component. Leave it in, leave it out -- I think the salad also works pretty well without it. —Maja Lukic - Veggies & Gin
large or 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced paper thin
Prepare the Lemon-Walnut Vinaigrette by whisking together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and walnut oil. Taste and sweeten with additional maple syrup, to taste.
Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly fragrant.
Slice the fennel and persimmons thinly in a food processor or with a sharp knife. For the fennel, cut off the stalks and trim the ends. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise, remove the core (save for snacking), and slice the fennel crosswise into paper thin wisps. For the persimmons, cut them in half lengthwise and slice thinly into half moons.
In a large salad bowl, toss the shaved fennel with half of the vinaigrette and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the persimmons, arugula, and walnuts to the fennel. Gently toss the salad with as much of the remaining vinaigrette as you'd like and season lightly with sea salt. Serve immediately.
Note: Slice the fennel and persimmons as thinly as possible. I have a dim view of mandolines so I would recommend a food processor with a shredding/slicing attachment or a sharp knife and some patience. About an eighth of an inch or thinner is best for both the fennel and the persimmons. You may substitute the walnut oil with olive oil, avocado oil, or a different nut oil.