Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Shaved Fennel Salad with Arugula

Reading cookbooks is one of my favorite pastimes. There's just something about the chef's notes, beautiful pictures and different ingredient combinations that fascinates me.

Most of my browsing is done online, or, if I have a few minutes to spare, I enjoy flipping through the new hardcovers at Barnes & Nobles. Rarely, however, do I purchase a cookbook without first trying a recipe or two.

Most recently, I've had my eye on Heidi Swanson's release of "super natural every day". Up until this weekend, I had never actually tried one of Heidi's dishes; everything just looked, and sounded, so appealing.

On Saturday night, the Mr. and I decided to make a butternut squash risotto for dinner. To counter the richness of the rice dish, I also wanted to serve a lighter side, something other than mixed greens (which are always good, but I'm kind of bored with these days). I had found a recipe for a Shaved Fennel Salad with Arugula on Heidi's blog, 101 Cookbooks.

The recipe was very easy to make, and the contrasting flavors were delicious together! I highly recommend you give it a try. While I did adapt this version slightly from the original, it will surely be my "go to".

Shaved Fennel and Arugula Salad
1 medium-large zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and shaved paper-thin
2/3 cup loosely chopped fresh Italian Parsley
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper 
4 or 5 generous handfuls arugula
Honey, if needed
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Combine the zucchini, fennel and Italian parsley in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside and marinate for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.
When you are ready to serve the salad, put the arugula in a large bowl. Scoop all of the zucchini and fennel onto the arugula, and pour most of the lemon juice dressing on top of that. Toss gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust with more of the dressing, olive oil, lemon juice, or salt if needed. If the lemons were particularly tart, you may need to counter the pucker-factor by adding a tiny drizzle of honey into the salad at this point. Let your taste buds guide you. Serve topped with pine nuts and feta.
Serves 4 to 6.

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