Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fennel Slaw

Most nights for dinner I try to incorprate a little salad into my meal to balance out the fat and starch.  Unless there is something green, crunchy, or raw to accompany whatever else I may be eating, I tend to feel weighed down and incomplete. Usually a simple bowl of lettuces (arugula, romaine, mesculen, baby spinach) with a basic vinagrette is all I need to round out the meal, but sometimes I want something a little more exciting....

In the colder months, this shaved brussels sprout and kale salad was my go to when I needed something green and crunchy, but in the warmer months, when there is a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, my salad options become alot more interesting.  I may shave some asparagus with a vegetable peeler and toss with a little lemon juice and olive oil or thinly slice cucumbers and give them a quick marinade in vinegar and top with fresh chopped dill.  When vegetables are in season, there is little you have to do to make them taste really great.

Fennel is one of those vegetables that people either love or hate; being reminiscent of licorice, which can be offputting to some.  Personally I love the delicate flavor and the fact that it pairs well with a variety of foods.  I'm not really sure when fennel is in season in New York.. I usually see it at the farmers market in late summer but for some reason I feel like it's one of those vegetables that I can eat year round. I roast it up all winter long and serve it raw, either juiced or tossed in a salad all throughout the summer months.

Now that it's getting warmer again, I decided to make a simple fennel salad to accompany these quinoa patties.  Thinly sliced fennel is tossed with a little lemon juice and olive oil, then mixed with some fresh grated parmesan and chopped flatleaf parsley. It's fresh and crunchy and the tanginess of the lemon plays off the saltiness of the grated parmesan.  It's one of those salads that comes across as being super fancy but takes less than fifteen minutes to throw togther.

Fennel Slaw (serves 2-4)
Slightly adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

1 large bulb fennel, very thinly sliced
2 T. chopped fennel fronds
1/12 T. fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
1 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. chopped flatleaf parsley
1/4 c. finely grated parmesan cheese
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Using a mandoline or knife, slice the fennel bulbs horiziontally as thinly as possible. Remove any large core parts then add the slices to a mixing bowl with the fronds.
Add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest to the bowl and toss with your hands. Let the fennel sit for 10 minutes to soften.  Before serving, add the parsley, parmesan, a couple pinches of salt and a generous grind of black pepper.  Toss everything together and serve immediately.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Shaved Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad with Salted Almonds

I know, I know... brussels sprouts season is over and done with. For those of you that eat seasonally, you're probably sick to death of those miniature cabbages. You want ramps and asparagus and fava beans and I couldn't agree more. 

I actually made and photographed this salad months ago, but totally forgot about it up until now. This is definitely one of those salads that you want to add to your winter repertoire, so I figure why not blog about it now so you'll have it for next year. 

Serving brussels sprouts and kale raw, in a salad, may be new to some of you.  In fact, I've talked to many people that didn't even know you could eat either one without cooking them first.  When you're in the dead of winter and tender lettuces are nowhere to be found, thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts are your next best bet. You could probably toss the two with a little olive oil and lemon and have a simple side, but why not throw in some grated pecorino romano, salted almonds and serve with a lemony-dijon-shallot vinaigrette.  You could eat a large bowl of this on it's own for a light lunch or serve it in place of your typical dinner salad.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad with Salted Almonds
(Serves 8-10)
From Bon Appetit

1/4 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 T. dijon mustard
1 T. minced shallot
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1/4 t. sea salt, plus more for seasoning
fresh ground black pepper
2 large bunches lacinato kale, stems removed, thinly sliced
12 oz. brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 c. raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1 c. grated pecorino romano

Combine lemon juice, dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, sea salt and black pepper in a bowl. Place shredded brussels sprouts and kale in a large bowl.
Measure 1/2 c. olive oil in a cup. Spoon 1 T. oil into a small skillet and heat over medium high heat.  Add the almonds and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about two minutes. Transfer almonds to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Slowly whisk remaining olive oil into the lemon juice mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture and toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper and top with salted almonds.