Fennel Salad with Grilled Lemon Vinaigrette
Mediterranean Exploration Company, Portland, OR
Paper-thin slices of fennel and celery form the aromatic, crunchy base of this flavorful salad. Grilling the lemons before juicing adds a delicious touch of smoke.
Grilled Lemon Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 small clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/8 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
3/8 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 stalks celery, ends trimmed
1 large fennel bulbs, tops removed
1/2 tablespoon tarragon leaves
1/2 tablespoon minced chives (optional)
3/4 teaspoon pistachio oil (optional)
Make the vinaigrette: preheat the grill to medium-hot. Brush the cut sides of the lemons with olive oil. Grill the lemons, cut-side-down, until charred, about 3 to 4 minutes. (Alternatively, broil the lemons in at 500°F oven, cut-side-up, until edges start to char, about 5 minutes.)
Transfer the grilled lemons to a plate and set aside to cool. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and reserve. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the coriander seeds, garlic clove, and salt into a paste. Transfer the paste to a small mixing bowl and add the mustard, honey, and reserved lemon juice. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified and set aside.
Make the candied pecans: preheat the oven to 325°F. Using a colander, rinse the pecans briefly with water. Transfer the pecans to a bowl and add the sugar, tossing to coat. Arrange the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the nuts begin to brown. Set aside to cool. Use your hands to break up any nuts that are stuck together.
Make the salad: use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer of the celery and fennel. Trim the root end of the fennel bulbs, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the cores. Use a mandolin to slice the fennel and celery very thinly. Thin slices are the key to this salad.
Mix the celery, fennel, candied pecans, and tarragon in a large bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of the dressing. Taste and add more dressing and salt and pepper, if desired. Divide among plates and top with chives and pistachio oil, if using.
4 servings as a side dish