The Art of Salad: Fennel Slaw with Grapefruit, Cracked Pepper, and Pistachios

PUBLISHED ON: 02.16.2014

There are a million creative and innovative ways to prepare fennel.  It can be grilled, roasted, braised, sautéed, added to soups and stews, and still my favorite way is to use fennel in salads.   The crisp crunch of raw fennel with a very subtle anise flavor is beautiful and provides a worthy foundation for an out of the ordinary salad.

In this easy to prepare salad, fennel is paired up with citrus and roasted pistachios with a pop of cracked black pepper that you can feel on your tongue without being the slightest bit overwhelming.   The light vinagrette is used to toss the ingredients in a mariage of flavors and textures.

Next time you are moving through your Farmer’s Market, the produce section of your grocery aisle or thinking about what to plant in your garden- Don’t Forget the Fennel

Fennel Slaw with Grapefruit, Cracked-Pepper, and Pistachios
Serves 4
Recipe from Fine Cooking


3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
1-1/2 Tbs. white-wine vinegar
2 large fennel bulbs with fronds (about 3lb.) trimmed (reserve fronds), halved lengthwise, cored, and very thinly sliced
1/3 cup unshelled pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Coarsely cracked black pepper
1 large pink grapefruit
In a large bowl, whisk the oil and vinegar.  Add the fennel and half of the nuts.  Finely chop the reserved fronds and add half of them to the bowl.  Crumble 1/2 teaspoon of the salt into the bowl and a generous pinch of cracked black pepper, and toss to coat.
Slice of the ends of a grapefruit to expose the fruit.  Stand the fruit on a cut end, and slice off the skin and pith, following the natural curve of the fruit from top to bottom.  Cut on each side of the membrane to free the segments, then cut the segments in half and add them to the fennel.  Toss gently and season to taste with salt.  Serve immediately topped with the remaining nuts and fronds, a pinch of pepper, and a light drizzle of oil.

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