I have a massive folder in my office where I place interesting recipes that I have cut out of different publications. I'm pretty good about getting to them in short order and testing them out on my family. This recipe, however, has been languishing for two years...September 23, 2010 to be exact. That's too long, so let's get to it.
The recipe is from Andrew Carmellini, winner of two James Beard awards and owner of Locanda Verde in New York. I am really remiss here for not trying this recipe sooner, as it contains most of my very favorite varieties of produce...peppery arugula, licorice-flavored fennel, tart green apple, the sharp bite of basil and watercress...all crowned with a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
This salad is an explosion of spectacular flavors. Accordingly, I'm serving it with grilled, skinless chicken breast...something more neutral...so as not to conflict with this most flamboyant, fall salad. A muted hen punctiliously paired with a precocious peacock. This recipe serves four.
1 bunch arugula (about 4 cups loosely packed)
1 bunch of watercress (about 4 cups loosely packed)
8 basil leaves
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed
1 medium green apple
3 stalks celery, trimmed
3/4 cup white raisins, soaked in warm water
1/4 cup roasted salted almonds
Juice of two lemons (6 ounces)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- Tear the basil into bite-size pieces and place in large salad bowl.
- Halve the fennel through its core and, if tough, discard the outer layers. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, thinly slice (about 1/8 of an inch thick) the fennel lengthwise. Halve and core the apple. Slice it thinly. Slice the celery thin and on the bias. Strain the plumped raisins and pat them dry.
- Toss the arugula, watercress and basil together. Add the fennel, apple, celery, raisins, almonds and lemon zest to the bowl. With your hands, gently toss the ingredients together and drizzle the salad with olive oil and lemon juice. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- Divide the salad evenly among the plates and top with a sprinkle of cheese.
Wine pairing: Riesling or Pinot Grigio