Fennel and arugula salad

Fennel and Arugula Salad

Serves 4:

It’s gonna reach 70F in Chicago today….finally! That puts me in the mood for a salad. I’m not referring to a few leaves of iceberg and a cherry tomato. I mean hearty, satisfying and interesting mixes that hit all 5 points (salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami). This is one of my favorites at the moment and is bursting with color, texture and flavor. Give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • ¼ cup fresh herbs (cilantro, mint, basil, parsley or whatever is on hand)
  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 8 oz. of arugula
  • ½ small red onion
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup of white balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Prep It:

  • Cut the stems and the bottom of the fennel bulb. Reserve the fronds (the feathers) of the fennel to put in the salad later. Slice the bulb in half and remove the core. Slice the fennel thinly…about 1/8 of an inch.
  • Using a boning or utility knife, remove the peel from the grapefruit. Once you remove all the pith and skin, use the knife to cut the sections of the grapefruit (that’s the flesh between the white skins. Cut the sections into 1 inch pieces and squeeze any remaining juice from the left over fruit into a saucepan.
  • Slice the onion thinly and roughly chop the herbs you’re using.

Cook It:

  • Toast the walnuts in a dry sauté pan over medium heat. Watch them carefully and periodically move the nuts around to keep them from burning. Once you can smell the walnuts they’re done.
  • Meanwhile, add the balsamic vinegar to the saucepan with the grapefruit juice. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and reduce by half to create a syrupy lovely dressing. Allow the dressing to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Combine the arugula, onion, grapefruit and fennel together in a large bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss to completely coat. Top with the walnuts and serve immediately.

Serve It:

  • This salad is great as a first course or as a light lunch!
  • Don’t like arugula? I’ve made this salad with spinach, swish chard and Napa cabbage. They’re all wonderful so go wild and use any tender mix of greens you like.
  • Switch it up!
    • Don’t have walnuts? Try almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds or any other type of nut you have on hand.
    • Try any citrus fruit or berry. Strawberries and oranges are both fabulous in this salad but try blueberries, raspberries or tangerines.
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