Fennel has a sweet, yet quiet flavor that I really like. It can be added to almost anything because other flavors adhere to it so well.The first time I tried fennel in a salad, I remember thinking its crunch help put the salad over the top. It’s available year-round and tastes great raw with just a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and salt, but this time of year I like raw fennel—shaved whispery thin and feathery light—with arugula, shaved pears, and toasted almonds. Toss it with a simple dressing made of apple cider, honey, and mustard and you’ve got a refreshingly light and crisp fall salad.
This recipe can easily be adapted to use whatever ingredients you already have on hand. Swap out the arugula with lettuce, frisée, baby spinach or watercress if you need to. I used Asian pears because I had a few to use up from my CSA basket, but you could also use another type of pear or Honeycrisp apples instead. If you don’t have almonds on hand, pecans and walnuts also work. Same goes for the dressing, champagne or raspberry vinegar would work. Or, you could keep the dressing super simple with just lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
Shaved Fennel Salad
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (or other sweetener, vegans can try maple syrup or agave)
2 teaspoons mustard (I used Dijon)
4-5 cups arugula (or other greens)
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 small Asian pear (or apple), thinly sliced and cut in small pieces (the exact shape does not matter)
1/4 cup sliced almond, toasted
fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)
Make the dressing. Whisk together cider vinegar, honey and mustard. Taste, adjust to your liking. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine arugula, fennel, pear and almonds. Toss with dressing. Serve garnished with fennel fronds, if using.