My boyfriend, Andy, is quite the finicky eater. There are only certain greens and vegetables he will eat, and they have to be prepared just so (blanched, grilled, mashed or puréed), otherwise, he won’t eat them.
When we started dating, this salad had only two ingredients in it: fennel (a favorite of his) and oranges. The latter, he ritually takes with his fresh OJ in the morning (a trinity of Cara Cara, Valencia, and Blood oranges when available).
Over time, as I have picked up on more of his tastes, other ingredients have been added. Almonds, arugula, cranberries; at times, switching the greens to spinach and baby kale. This salad is best with the baby arugula — adding a nutty flavor to the mixture.
Somewhere along the way, I discovered he has an aversion to beets. I took it as a challenge to convert him, and added them to the salad unbeknownst to him — I boiled some yellow beets until tender, julienned them, then marinated in a little bit of sugar and ginger. He ate the salad without any remark on the beets. It was only after dinner that I told him that beets were in the salad. Admittedly, I took his distaste as a challenge, but what I reaped in return was the laughter we now share with beets, and well — this recipe.
So, it is with pleasure we (he has consented) share this Picky Palate Salad, alternately known as the Pear and Fennel salad.
PS: The Asian pear has taken the place of the beets for its honey and mild ginger taste, and for other obvious reasons 😉
Picky Palate Salad
A fresh, light, salad to make any palate swoon.
- 2 cups of Baby Arugula
- 1 Bulb of Fennel
- 2 Cara Cara Oranges
- 1 Asian Pear or Bartlett Pear
- 1/3 cup honey walnuts or slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons of Olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cut the fennel bulb in half and remove the core. Slice the fennel into thin sections or grate on a mandoline. Place in a mixing bowl.
- Peel and julienne the pear and mix in with the fennel. Drizzle the fennel and pear with lemon and toss to coat.
- Peel the orange and ensure that no white skin peel remains as they are bitter. Cut along the wall between each slice of the orange.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the arugula with the fennel/orange/pear mixture. Toss to combine evenly. Drizzle with the olive oil and the remaining lemon juice. Place in the freezer for 2 minutes to ensure salad is cool.
- Salt and pepper to taste before serving.