Crisp licorice-y fennel is best from winter to early spring, so for this salad, we paired it with some winter-friendly ingredients: juicy grapefruit, briny Kalamata olives, creamy goat cheese, and some rich toasted pine nuts. Most things are highly adjustable: swap in your favorite citrus for the grapefruit (just stay away from the really tart ones like lemons and limes), ditch the cheese and substitute with avocado for a dairy-free version, or swap in your favorite nut or seed for the pine nuts — just make sure they’re toasted!
New to preparing fennel? Here’s what we recommend: Using a knife, remove the stalks from both fennel bulbs, reserving a small amount of fronds. (They make an excellent garnish!) Cut about ½” off the base of each bulb to remove the root and create a flat surface. If needed, peel or cut off any dry or discolored areas from the outsides of the bulbs. Place fennel root end-down and halve lengthwise. Optionally, remove the cores with a paring knife. With a mandolin or knife, carefully slice each fennel half as thinly as possible. For extra crunchy fennel, soak your slices in ice water for 10 minutes while you whip up your dressing.
This salad would pair nicely with roasted fish or a hearty stew, but bulked up with a bit of grilled chicken or baked tofu, it can be a meal all on its own.
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 medium shallot, minced
- 1 tsp. za'atar or dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium bulbs fennel, halved and thinly sliced, reserving some fronds
- 1 medium grapefruit, cut into segments or peeled and cut into rounds
- 1/3 c. (about 15) Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped or torn
- 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
- Step 1In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, and za’atar or oregano, and season with salt and pepper.
- Step 2Add fennel to bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then top with grapefruit, olives, goat cheese, and pine nuts. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve.