CUCUMBER, PEAR, AND FENNEL SALAD

After all the eating and drinking over our holiday in New York, I am ready to eat light before the next wave of indulgence begins. Lots of vegetables, salads, and juices are in the line up over the next month and I cannot wait. I literally left New York craving kale, salads, and carrot, apple, ginger juice. While on our recent East Coast food adventure, I started gathering recipe inspiration for the Christmas dinner we will be cooking and came across a number of delicious salad recipes. I made this Cucumber, Pear, and Fennel Salad for lunch today, adding a little richness with some crumbled Point Reyes Blue cheese. It was crunchy, salty, sweet, and light. Exactly what I have been craving.

CUCUMBER, PEAR, AND FENNEL SALAD

Serves 6-8

1 1/2 large cucumbers, peeled, and diced into 1/2”-3/4” cubes
1 large fennel bulb, diced into 1/2” cubes
1/4 cup fennel fronds, roughly chopped
2 pears, cored, and diced into 1/2” cubes
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 lemon
1/4 cup Point Reyes Blue Cheese, crumbled
Maldon salt
fresh cracked pepper
Apple Cider Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)

Combine the diced cucumber, fennel, and pears in a bowl. Add the fennel fronds and the juice from 1 lemon. Stir to coat in the lemon juice. This will prevent any of the vegetables or fruit from browning. Sprinkle in half a cup of the pomegranate seeds and gently stir. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. When ready to serve, pour the salad into a bowl. Garnish with the rest of the pomegranate seeds, the crumbled blue cheese, and some fresh cracked pepper.

APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE

1 apple (Fuji, Honeycrisp, or Granny Smith), chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (preferably raw and unfiltered)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 tsp. raw sugar
sea salt
fresh cracked pepper

In a food processor, combine the apple, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice. Purée until smooth. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and strain, pressing the solids down in order to get all the liquid out. Discard the solids. Whisk in the shallots and sugar. Whisk in the safflower oil until combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

(Adapted from Chun, Kay. “The Salad”. bon appétit, November 2012: 95)

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