It first caught my attention when this magazine heralded the salad dressing we can’t live without. I have been splashing it on anything in the salad family, using the term salad loosely, and a scant amount is awaiting my return from here.
Although making your own salad dressing isn’t so easy in crunchtime, I promise this one is a do-aheader that comes together in ten minutes. Â It will dress up even the bitterest of winter greens for the next couple of weeks. We are showing it off in two salads: Fennel, Cucumber & Pear and Kale & Kumquat (upcoming).
Today’s salad can be prepped honestly the day ahead if not more with a few tricks in storage. When does a salad ever hold up that long? Â It is great for weekday rushes or when entertaining, so you don’t have to chop while your guests look on. Â Was that my finger? These flavors of winter-ready vegetables and fruit combine perfectly; making you disbelieve you’re in the doldrums of winter produce. Â Relying on pears for sweetness and pomegranates for color, this salad will brighten any table.
fennel, cucumber & pear salad
Preptime: 15 minutes Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Serves 8
2 lbs cucumbers, chopped in 3/4″ cubes (use English hothouse to avoid peeling)
1 fennel bulb, cut into 1/2″ squares, fronds saved
1/2 c pomegranate seeds
- DO-AHEAD – Place chopped cucumbers in a resealable plastic bag. Place fronds from fennel in a resealable plastic bag. Place fennel in a large bowl of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to prevent browning; cover. Chill cucumber, fennel, and fronds overnight.
- At serving time: Â Peel pears and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups). If not serving immediately, spritz some lemon juice on pears to prevent them from browning?
- Combine pears, drained fennel, cucumber pieces and and 1/4 c pomegranate seeds in a large bowl.
- Add 3/4 cup Granny Smith Apple Cider Vinaigrette (below); toss to coat. Add more vinaigrette, if desired.
- Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds and reserved fronds.
Granny Smith Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Preptime: 15 minutes
1 Granny Smith apple very roughly chopped (peel and core included)
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1 T fresh lime juice
1 T shallot, minced
1 t sugar
1/4 + 1 T safflower or grapeseed oil (canola or another light oil okay too)
- PurÃ©e apple, cider, and lime juice in a blender, occasionally scraping down sides of blender with a spatula, until smooth.
- Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve (or mesh strainer) into a medium bowl, pressing down on solids with spatula to extract all juice; discard solids.
- Whisk in shallot and sugar.
- Whisk in oil a little bit at a time to incorporate. Â Or if you’re rushed, shake it all in a sealed jar, preferably to a creative interpretation of Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer.
- Season with salt and ground pepper – or salt ‘n pepper
Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2012 issue, by your friends at crunchtimefood.com