Fennel, basil, walnut salad, with a cherry on top!

It is so good to be back in my own kitchen, I cannot even tell you. I feel like I am back where I belong. I realized that I’ve been posting about lots of sweet treats, and while I adore all manner of those in moderation, salad is much more important and integral to my day-to-day diet.

 

Salads have a reputation for being summery, but a) I love them too much to save them for the two weeks of the year San Francisco gets above 65 degrees (that’s one week in May and one in September, in case you were wondering), and b) winter offers us produce with complex flavors that are lovely enjoyed raw in salad form.

 

The flavors in this salad complement each other well; the walnuts bring out the licorice flavors of the fennel and basil, while the dried cherries provide rich sweetness and chewiness, my favorite texture. It was a grounding and delicious way to celebrate my own homecoming.

 

Fennel, basil, walnut, and dried cherry salad

Serves 6-8 as a side dish or 2-4 as a main

  • 4 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup pea sprouts
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, very thinly shaved
  • 1/4 cup basil, chiffonaded
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted in a dry skillet
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
  • a few fennel sprigs, for garnish
  • shaved parmesean on the side for the omnis

I served this with a very simple dressing– equal parts freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil, with one pinch each of sugar, salt, and pepper. You could add a little Dijon mustard or balsamic to it, but the flavors in it are so bold I’d think a stronger dressing might overpower it.

 

Hope you enjoyed the Oscars! I thought they were kinda boring but I always love seeing the dresses.

 

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