A few years ago, I followed my boyfriend on a trip to Berlin that he had to take for work. One night we somehow ended up in an ornately decorated Moroccan restaurant. Neither of us speak German very well, so we sat there flipping through the menu with no idea what to order. Our very enthusiastic waiter, who spoke some English, could see that we needed some guidance. He turned to the second page of the menu, pointed passionately at something and asked with an enormous grin and raised eyebrows “Do you like FLESH!?”
There’s a restaurant here in LA that I love called Animal. Yes, it’s named that because they serve a lot of well, flesh. I’ve only been there once because it’s very difficult to get a reservation. Thankfully, the one time I was there my server manipulated me in to buying the chefs Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo’s cookbook Two Dudes, One Pan. (FYI: The foie gras with biscuit and sausage gravy recipe is NOT in the cookbook, so if you’re server tells you that he’s lying.) In the end, he did me a huge favor because a) I didn’t realize at the time that I would never be able to get a reservation again and b) I use the cookbook all the time.
This salad is adapted from that cookbook. It contains no flesh and I’ve made it so many times. I usually add some greens to the original recipe and substitute almonds for pine nuts. Spring is almost here, so enjoy it before this winter special goes out of season.
Fennel, Apple and Grape Salad with Cinnamon Vinaigrette
- 3 cups arugula or mixed greens
- 1 large fennel bulb, stalks trimmed,cut in half, cored and thinly sliced into matchsticks, some fronds reserved
- 1 Braeburn apple, cored, sliced in to matchsticks
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup halved red grapes
- 3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
- 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 2-ounce chunk Pecorino, shaved with a vegetable peeler
For the Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure Vermont maple syrup (grade A)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 shallot, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons canola or grape seed oil
- 2 table spoons extra-virgin olive oil
Whisk together the vinegar, syrup, cinnamon and salt. Add the shallots and drizzle in the oils while whisking to incorporate.
Add the greens, fennel, apples, almonds, chives, and salt to the vinaigrette and toss. Transfer to a bowl or plates and top with cheese and garnish with fennel fronds.