I’m fixated on fall. It has me wrapped up in its coziness, warmth, and spice. The soups, the cranberry sauces, the brussels, apples, and the freaking GOURDS. What a weird word. It sounds like a body part. But, I love the gourds nonetheless. Fall is like the silk blanket of the seasons. I want it to wrap me up in its spiciness and stay hibernated there for months.
But sometimes I want something cold, refreshing, and bright made with fall ingredients. This salad has granted my wish. Honeycrisp apples are my current reason for existing, and they are the star of this show. The gentle flavor of licorice-y fennel, the crunch of celery, and the complexity from tarragon and lemon are harmonious.
This is my current obsession and I will be making it often. It’s great with barbecue ribs (I had that pair last weekend), fish, or chicken, on top of a romaine salad with avocado but it’s sturdy enough to stand on it’s own, eaten straight from the bowl.
Fennel, apple, and celery salad with tarragon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon (substitute fresh parsley or dill if you can’t find or don’t like tarragon)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey (optional, omit for Whole30)
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally, plus a few celery leaves, chopped,
1 very large (or 2 small) fennel bulbs, halved and sliced thin crosswise
1 firm, crisp apple (preferably Honeycrisp), julienned
¼ cup nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds are a nice choice), toasted and chopped
In a medium bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, tarragon, lemon juice, honey, shallot, salt, and pepper. Add celery and celery leaves, thinly sliced fennel, and apple; toss to coat. Season to taste again with salt and pepper. Top with nuts, if desired.
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