Continuing on my Spanish food kick, the second dish from dinner the other night (and hands down my favorite part of the meal) was a salad that I first had during Sam’s and my trip to Jaleo. Sam had told me about it before we went and insisted that we order the dish. As previously mentioned, I love fennel in pretty much any form. Hand me a bulb and I will eat it raw. This salad, followed closely by some delicious roasted onions, were my favorite tapas/dishes of the night (and that’s a difficult title to win at Jaleo).
The flavors in this salad are fantastic. The heartiness of the walnut and the apple were the perfect tint of winter which, combined with the fennel and chives that reminded me of early spring, made for the perfect “transition salad” between seasons. Ideally, you should probably slice your fennel and perhaps your apple on a mandolin. Being a poor law student, I don’t have one of those. That being said, slicing both really thinly with an extremely sharp knife did the trick for me. This also kept pretty well in the fridge and made for a great side salad at lunch the next day. Also, be sure to slice your apple last, as that will preserve it’s color.
On another note: my friend Sam is off to Italy for four months of culinary school and an internship. If you’d like to keep up with travels and culinary adventures, be sure to check out her blog at travelingwithmymouthfull.wordpress.com. Happy eating!
Fennel and Apple Salad
Inspired by Jaleo
- ½-3/4 cup raw walnuts
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil (I like using the Italian variety for the peppery tones)
- 1/8 teaspoon each coarse salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 2-3 oz manchego cheese, sliced into thin planks (about 1/4 inch wide and 1 inch tall)
- 1½-2 bulbs fennel, stalks removed and thinly sliced (we’re talking 1/8 inch or less if possible)
- 2 tablespoons fennel fronds
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into quarters, then thinly sliced (this can be even thinner than the fennel), slices then cut in half
- First, toast your walnuts. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add in your walnuts and allow to toast, stirring occasionally, for about 5-8 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine your sherry vinegar, 1½ tablespoons of the chives, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in your olive oil. Continue whisking until combined.
- Add in your fennel, apple, cheese, and toasted walnuts. Toss to coat.
- Transfer to serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Before serving, sprinkle with remaining chives.