Fennel was sort of an impulse addition to my garden this year.  As I was flipping through the Burpee’s catalog, I thought, hey, that might be fun to try. Next thing you know, I found a way to fit it in (and keep in it through all the various revisions of my original plans).  I had not grown it before, so I really didn’t know what to expect, which made it kind of fun to watch the seedlings grow and transform.

 
It was also somewhat of a kitchen experiment as well. Fennel is something that I had not really cooked with often.  Though I’ve tried it a number of times in various dishes, I think I had only purchased a fennel bulb one other time for my own cooking.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited when it was time to dig into my bookmarked recipes and try some things out.

 I made this salad twice last weekend.  The first time, I made a small salad for lunch and followed the original recipe pretty closely.  When I made it again the following day for a family birthday party, I made a few minor adjustments, which are reflected below.  The biggest change I made was to use less olive oil in the dressing.  I felt that in the first salad, it was all I could taste.  When I cut it back significantly in the second salad, the flavors of the fennel, apple, lemon, and dill really came out.  I also opted to leave out the arugula, mostly because I didn’t have any on hand, but I will definitely try this again with the arugula so see how the addition of that flavor changes things.  My apologies in advance to those of you who need exact measurements.  Unfortunately, when I made some of these changes, I didn’t use measurements.  I just eyeballed it and drizzled and adjusted until the flavors worked for me.   If you need something more scientific, follow the link below to the original recipe for a starting point.

Apple Fennel Salad
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly sliced
1/2 Gala apple (or other sweet-tart apple), sliced thinly
Fresh dill, to taste
Juice from half a lemon (or more, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Measure out sea salt and add to squeezed lemon juice to dissolve while you prepare the other ingredients.  Then add black pepper and enough olive oil to coat the apple and fennel. 

Slice and toss fennel, apple, and dill together in a bowl.  Pour dressing over salad and toss until all ingredients are coated and well mixed.  You can add more dill, lemon juice or olive oil, if needed, until you are satisfied with the balance of flavors. 

Optional: sprinkle salad with chopped pecans for garnish before serving. 

Recipe adapted from Sassy Radish

Apple Fennel Salad
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