It is hot, hot, hot in Barcelona! We’re lucky the apartment stays pretty cool during the day or else the Man and I would be roasting instead of working from home. Weather like this certainly puts you in the mood for light fare, am I right?
The recipe I want to share with you today is my version of a shaved fennel salad with a mandarin vinaigrette that I did for my plant-based cooking course last week. The course is still going well but I fell behind while I was in Herblay earlier this month and I’ve been so busy with work… it’s been tough getting back on track. There’s only about 5 weeks left so I’m going to be cooking like a mad woman to finish in time.
The fennel, spinach, apple and grapefruit work really together in this dish and the result is not too sweet. (Right now Mom is thinking “Oh, no. I don’t think I’ll make this. Fruit in salad… not for me thanks.” Give it a try Mom, it’s deliciously refreshing, promise!)
Makes 2 – 4 servings depending on whether you’re using it as a starter or a main
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced paper thin with a mandolin (watch those fingers!)
- 1 granny smith apple, quartered and sliced very thin with a mandolin
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 generous cups of baby spinach
- 1 grapefruit, segmented and chopped into small cubes
- A handful of sprouts (I used leek sprouts)
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey (or agave nectar if you’re a strict vegan)
- 2-3 tbsp of chives, minced
Start by working your magic with the mandolin, being very careful not to cut yourself as you slice the fennel bulb. Fingertips are useful so try to keep yours attached. Place the fennel in a large bowl.
Next, tackle the apple. Once you’ve sliced it, place the slices in a small bowl of filtered water, add the lemon juice and reserve. That will keep the apple from oxidizing and turning brown.
Peel and segment your grapefruit, making sure that there is no bitter pith (the soft white part of the skin) left on your segments. You can take a look at this video for a demonstration of how to do this correctly. Chop your segments into pretty pink cubes. Set aside.
Now you can make your dressing by whisking together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, agave nectar and chives, as well as some salt and pepper to taste.
It’s time to pull out your plates and place the apple slices to form a flower shape. You’ll want to shake off any excess lemon water from each slice before using.
Add the spinach and grapefruit to the fennel and toss it. Give your dressing a final whisk and pour it a tablespoon at a time onto the salad. Toss after each addition of salad dressing. Stop adding once the salad is nicely coated but not dripping in dressing. You may not need to use all of it! It’s really a matter of taste. Season with salt and pepper and give the salad a final toss.
Add equal amounts of salad to each beautifully decorated plate (2- 4 depending on whether you are serving it as a starter or a light main). Try to pile it up so that you get a nice shape and some volume. Top with sprouts and serve.