Salad with caramelized fennel andĀ apples

January 10, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 2, quite generously (or 3-4 less generously)
Author Notes

I know some people like their salads quite simple. Just some arugula with a shaving of Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice, perhaps, and no more. Not me. I love salads that are explosions of colors and textures and flavors. Salads are the perfect place to play with combining all five flavors in myriad ways. This salad has a profusion of different yummies. It was inspired after I saw Ottolenghi's recipe for caramelized fennel salad, and my first thought was, 'oh I really want a salad with caramelized fennel and apple!' So, I made one. - fiveandspice —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

This salad was truly a delight to make and eat. The caramelized fennel and apples smelled amazing and mellowed out beautifully. The caramel coated the fennel and apples and added the right touch of sweetness. I loved all the contrasting and complementing flavors in this salad -- the bitterness of the radicchio with the sweetness of the apples and fennel, the creaminess of the goat cheese with the nuttiness of the pine nuts. All the flavors created great harmony and balance. The fennel seeds and raw apple were also a lovely touch. I am very glad to have tested this salad and it will definitely become a staple winter salad for me. —fortheloveofyum

What You'll Need
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 sweet-tart apple, such as Braeburn
  • 1 tablespoon (or so) butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus another dash
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 raddichio
  • 4-5 leaves of butter lettuce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 3 ounces or so, soft goat cheese
  1. Trim the stalks off of the fennel bulb - reserving some of the fronds for garnish - and trim off any of the bottom bulb that is brown or gross. Remove the outer layers as well, if they are brown. Thinly slice the fennel bulb lengthwise (about 1/4 inch thick pieces), making thin, flat, feathery tear drop shaped pieces. It's okay, however, if the pieces fall apart.
  2. Cut the apple in half, core it, and slice half of it into thin slices.
  3. In a large sautee pan, heat 1/2 Tbs. butter and 1/2 Tbs. olive oil over high heat until foaming. Add as much of the fennel as you can fit in a single layer, cook until the undersides have turned a golden brown (a couple of minutes), then flip and cook the other sides until golden. Transfer to a bowl or tray. Repeat, adding more olive oil and butter as needed, until you have browned all of the fennel, and the sliced apple.
  4. Turn down the heat to medium-low, add another dash of olive oil, sprinkle in the sugar and the fennel seeds and let the sugar just begin to melt (this only takes seconds). Then, stir in the browned fennel and apple, sprinkle well with salt and pepper and stir to get them coated with a bit of caramelizing sugar. Just cook for another minute or so, then transfer back to the bowl. Toss with the crushed garlic.
  5. Wash, then cut or tear the raddichio and butter lettuce into bite sized pieces. Cut the remaining apple half into small cubes. Toss the lettuces and apple cubes with 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 Tbs. olive oil and a little sprinkling of salt and pepper, until coated.
  6. Divide the dressed lettuce and apple between two plates. Mound half of the caramelized apple and fennel on top of the bed of lettuce on each plate. Scatter the toasted pine nuts over the salads, crumble the goat cheese on top, then finally garnish each salad with a few pieces of fennel fronds. Enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bluejade
  • fiveandspice

2 Reviews

Bluejade July 29, 2013
I love the idea of carmelized fennel, but the results from using a really fresh fennel bulb makes me think I should have chopped it into 1/2 inch size pieces, rather than the 1 x 2 inch strips. I also added a small onion into the carmelization mix, which added a nice taste. Since I cannot justify the expense of pine nuts right now, I used walnut pieces. I had a fresh cucumber that I chopped into 1 inch squares. That added a nice coolness to the carmelization mix. This might also be nice with cooked (and cooled) beets.
fiveandspice July 31, 2013
Interesting. I do think fennel varies a lot from bulb to bulb, so it makes to go by feel of how tough or tender yours is, for sure. Love the sound of your additions!