Is a slaw a slaw sans cabbage? I hope so, because this is my favorite slaw yet.
You might have used fennel seeds before – they are often called for in curries, stews, and sometimes breads (have you ever tried those Italian ring cookies that have fennel seeds and marsala wine in them? My favorite.). The plant itself consists of long tuberous stalks with threadlike, feathery leaves and a very white round bulb – which is the part that most people eat (although the entire plant is edible). Fennel has an aroma of anise, or licorice, but a softer, almost sweet flavor. It does not taste like black jelly beans, I swear. The best part is it’s crunch – it is super crispy.
I’ve chosen Pink Lady-variety apple to bring more crunch as well as a sweetness that doesn’t overpower the fennel. The dill has a distinct flavor that makes this salad special. While dill and fennel are related, and their leaves look very similar, I highly recommend using dill here – look for fresh, vibrant green leaves (not wilted or yellowing). Both dill and fennel have high levels of vitamin C, which should also come in handy this winter!
A creamy dressing of sweet-tangy Meyer lemon juice and mayo (or olive oil) combined with the dill is reminiscent of tzatziki, but with much a fuller, sweeter flavor, and with the great crispy-crunchiness of the fennel and apple.
This is a great accompaniment to heavy stews and winter soups – or your Superbowl chili on Sunday :). Nate and I are going to our friend Aakash’s to watch the Superbowl and also celebrate Aakash’s birthday. I am bringing a cake, which I am also going to make somehow between now and then and in between my two weekend shifts… and hopefully get another post up for you. Fortunately I have a bit of this salad left for lunch! Wish me luck.
- 1 fennel bulb (fronds and leaves removed)
- 1 Pink Lady apple
- 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice (or 3 tablespoons lemon juice + 1 tablespoon agave)
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (or 2 tablespoons olive oil)
- 1/4 cup dill, chopped fine
- salt and pepper
- Slice the fennel into very thin slices using a mandolin or knife. Core the apple and cut into quarters and then cut into thin slices. Put apple and fennel in a medium-sized bowl.
- Prepare the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mayonnaise, dill, salt and pepper. Pour over the apple and fennel and mix together until well-combined.
- Let flavors meld for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Pear-champagne vinegar is amazing here, although regular champagne or apple-cider vinegar works just as well.
- For the mayo, I recommend Just Mayo or Vegenaise.