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

January 11, 2011
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 to 5
Author Notes

Ras el Hanout, or “top of the shop” in Arabic, refers to the best combination of spices a vendor has to offer. Since one vendor's stock might differ from the next, each blend of Ras el Hanout is slightly varied. The blend I used in this recipe (Mustapha’s Moroccan Ras el Hanout) includes coriander, white pepper, black pepper, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, anise, saffron, piment fort, long pepper cardamom, rose petals, nutmeg, mace, fennel and grains of paradise. It has an irresistible fragrance that is hard to describe, kind of a woodsy-cinnamon-ginger nose with a spicy, yet mellow, floral background. I used it to make brittle and thought it would pair nicely with a salad of shaved fennel and apples. The warm spices coax out the sweetness of the fennel and apples, making them taste candied, while mint provides a bright herbal contrast and the almonds give the salad texture. A shower of flaked sea salt rounds everything out and makes it difficult to stop eating. —gingerroot

Test Kitchen Notes

I really loved this salad! It was bright and fresh with interesting flavors. I made this early in the day and enjoyed it immediately, but I thought my leftovers were even better. There was a lot going on here, but all of the flavors really complemented each other. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1 blood orange, halved
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas
  • 1/2 pound fennel bulb, top and end trimmed
  • 1/2 large sweet-tart apple, such as a Fuji
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoons cayenne, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, washed and dried
  • Good quality flaked sea salt
  1. In a small bowl combine the shallots, juice from half of the blood orange (reserve remaining half), and the vinegars. Stir in the raisins and allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure raisins are covered. Do not proceed until mixture has sat for 30 minutes. In the meantime, pour yourself a glass of wine, or get started with another part of your meal.
  2. Halve the fennel bulb and core each half. Using a straight slicer (or a mandoline) set over a large bowl, carefully shave the fennel, until you can no longer safely cut the bulb. Repeat with the other half.
  3. Halve the apple and core each half. Carefully shave one apple quarter with the straight slicer (or mandoline) into the bowl with the fennel, until you can no longer safely cut the apple. Repeat with the remaining piece.
  4. Pour the raisin-shallot-vinegar-blood orange mixture over the apple and fennel pieces, lightly tossing with a small pair of tongs to evenly cover. Squeeze the remaining blood orange half over the fennel and apple and toss again. Salt to taste.
  5. In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Do not let it smoke—you just want the oil to move easily around the skillet. Add chopped almonds and allow nuts to toast for about a minute, stirring to coat. Add ras el hanout and cayenne. Spices should sizzle ever so slightly. Stir mixture with a spoon to combine. Cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
  6. Hold the pan over the the fennel/apple mixture. With a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, scrape oil and spice mixture to one side of hot pan and gently tip over the fennel and apples. Make sure you get all of the oil, almonds and spices out of the skillet.
  7. Using small tongs or a similar tool, thoroughly toss to evenly coat the salad with almonds and spiced oil. Plate salad on a long platter, making sure to get some almonds and raisins on top (they tend to end up at the bottom of the bowl). Finish the salad by sprinkling mint and a shower of flaked sea salt over the top. Serve and enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • foxeslovelemons
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • hardlikearmour
  • Sagegreen
  • healthierkitchen

Recipe by: gingerroot

My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love. Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.

13 Reviews

SmallLion December 26, 2018
no mandolin so just took care to slice thinly.
Would be cautious with toasting ras al hanout in the skillet. Burns pretty easily. You only need to toast until fragrant and not much more. Great recipe. Served for Christmas Dinner and it worked perfectly. Somewhere between a slaw and a salad.
Kerry G. January 10, 2016
Very very good!
Hilary G. August 9, 2013
The ras al hanout made this killer! Overall it was intense, as fennel is, but very memorable. I forgot to add the almonds but loved mixing it all with chickpeas for a hearty picnic-able salad.
foxeslovelemons March 23, 2013
This looks light and spring-y and delicious! Where do you find your sultanas?
gingerroot March 23, 2013
Thank you foxeslovelemons! I found mine in the bulk bins at my local Whole Foods. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you give it a try.
TheWimpyVegetarian January 12, 2011
I love how this sounds! I'm definitely going to try this one!
gingerroot January 12, 2011
Thanks so much ChezSuzanne! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Let me know what you think.
hardlikearmour January 11, 2011
This sounds lovely!
gingerroot January 12, 2011
Thanks hardlikearmour! I hope you try it.
Sagegreen January 11, 2011
Beautiful presentation, great medley of flavors!
gingerroot January 11, 2011
Thanks Sagegreen! It is very light and refreshing, and comes together quickly.
healthierkitchen January 11, 2011
Oh, yum, gingerroot!!
gingerroot January 12, 2011
Thanks, healthierkitchen!