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Fennel and Green Apple Salad

Peer pressure can be a good thing when it comes to trying new foods…and when you’re the cook, you’ve pretty much backed yourself into a corner for actually trying it, so on a recent business trip where the group activity was a cooking class, I knew that we’d all be trying some very new and interesting dishes.

I strategically positioned myself at the station that appeared to be the least complex course with the hopes I could finish early and free up more time for the free wine they were distributing. With that, began my adventures with fennel…a fennel and apple salad, to be exact.

I had heard of fennel before…but since I had unfairly put it in the same category as brussel sprouts and lima beans, it was on the “do not try” list. I say “unfairly” since, while I have tried brussel sprouts and lima beans and continue to include them on the “will not eat” list, through the magic of this cooking class and an apparent rule that the cook needs to eat what they create, I ended up having to try fennel – and in the process, elevated it to the coveted “favorite” status.

Sharing the benefit of my discovery, I now bestow upon you the recipe for fennel and apple salad…with a bit of a kick to help keep things a little bit hot and spicy in your life…

Fennel and Green Apple Salad

3 heads fennel
3 green apples
½ lemon

Julienne or slice the apples into uniform thin wafers and toss with the juice from the lemon to prevent the apples from discoloring. According to my female cooking class partner, Rachael Ray says, “squeeze up”, so that you don’t have to go picking through the apples for the seeds that you just squeezed out of the lemon.

Julienne or slice the fennel into uniform thin wafers and continue tossing with the apples and lemon juice. This concludes the salad making portion of the recipe.

Salad Dressing

1 Tbsp White Soy Sauce (Regular will also do)
1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
2 Tsp Sesame Oil
2 Tsp Minced Fresh Ginger (skin removed)
1½ Tsp Asian Chile Paste
1 Tsp Honey
1 Tsp Crushed Fennel Seeds

Mix ingredients thoroughly in a cup or bowl – it’s not meant to be a lot of liquid, but you could double the above amounts if you want extra strong flavor. Pour over your fennel and apple mixture and toss.

Sprinkle with black sesame seeds for garnish…and serve (serves 4).