As summer comes to an end, I wanted to give you all one last bite of those fresh summer flavors with one of my all-time favorite flavors. It’s easy, but just a bit time-consuming. This salad, whose recipe my uncle recently passed on to me, is usually served as a palette cleanser between the pasta and main course or as a side with your main dish.
For this recipe, you’ll need to have a sharp knife so you can easily chop up your ingredients. Another handy tool is a mandolin, which will help slice your apples consistently and evenly. There are only five ingredients in this salad so it’s perfect for when you don’t want something complicated.
What you’ll need is:
- 4 granny smith apples
- 3 heads of fennel
- 3 to 4 lemons, juiced
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- Freshly cracked black pepper
To start, wash your apples and fennel. Next, cut the stems off the fennel so only the white root remains. Slice the root through the center and continue to peel back each layer of the fennel root until you are left with the center part and throw that part away. It’s similar to an onion.
Once all the layers are separated, slice each of them into tiny strips, like the size of a matchstick. Once you’re done slicing all the fennel layers, add them to a large bowl and set them aside.
Cut the apples lengthwise in half with the skin on, starting at the stem going down. Open each side of the apple and remove the center core with a melon baller along with the stem. Set them aside.
Now, it is time to grab your mandolin if you have one. I use it on the largest setting and carefully put the apple cut side down and slice it. If you don’t have a mandolin, cut your apple slices about a ¼ inch thick.
Once you’ve done it to all eight halves, cut each of the slices into small matchstick-size pieces. They should be similar in size to the fennel pieces. After all the slices are cut, add them to the big bowl where your fennel pieces are.
That was the hard part of this recipe. Now for the easy part. Grab your three to four lemons and juice them. Once you have the juice, add it to the big bowl and mix it all in together.
After all the fennel and apple pieces are coated, get your olive oil and throw it in the bowl. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot of oil, but it goes a long way in muting the tartness from the lemon.
Once you’re done adding the liquids, get a pepper grinder and crack fresh pepper on top. I like to do about 10-15 twists. Stir and let sit in the fridge.
This salad tastes best when it sits for at least four hours but you can let it sit in the fridge for four to five days. It’s a perfect addition to any Labor Day barbecue and it’s great to keep in the fridge as a healthy post-dinner snack.
While this recipe seems rather complicated, don’t be intimidated. It’s only a few ingredients with a lot of manual labor. But, I promise, it is worth it. Until the next bite.