Paul and I are nuts for winter fennel salads, and it turns out that our 14-month old daughter is a big fan as well... that is until we upped our game and added this amazing caramelized apple vinaigrette. Madeline ignored the salad completely and licked the vinaigrette off all the salad components, all the while loudly commenting "mmmmmm." We realize that a 14-month-old cannot be our barometer of good food, but darn it if we don't love this salad combination ourselves, and want to lick the vinaigrette off the bottom of our plates. The tart green apple, crisp fennel, sweet blood oranges and sweet and sour notes of this wonderful caramelized apple vinaigrette make this a winner. This recipe is adapted from Food52.
Yield: Serves 4
- 4 large handfuls mixed salad greens
- 1 large fennel bulb, finely cut or sliced thinly on a mandoline
- 1 large green apple, finely cut or sliced thinly on a mandoline
- 1 blood orange, peeled, and cut into segments
Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 8 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely diced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- For the vinaigrette: in a medium size pan, bring the maple syrup, cider vinegar and diced apple and garlic to a simmer. Stir regularly with a wooden spoon until the liquid is reduced and your apple appears mushy and well cooked (about 5 minutes). Transfer the apples and liquid mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice, canola oil and salt and pepper and puree until the mixture is an even consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more vinegar, maple syrup, salt etc. to your preference.
- Assemble the salad ingredients in a large bowl (greens, fennel, apple and blood orange).
- Toss the salad with vinaigrette immediately prior to serving, or pass the vinaigrette seperately.
- Both the apple and fennel will brown after they are cut, lemon juice can help delay this process, but we would recommend cutting the apple and fennel as close to serving as possible.