This salad arose due to the fact that I had fresh CSA fennel sitting in my crisper, begging to be used in a new recipe. I managed to use about half of it; the other half will go into crabcakes tonight.
Fennel apparently grows year-round (according to Wikipedia), though I rarely see it in the produce section of my local stores. It has a very strong, anise-like flavor and I love it in Italian salads and soup. It pairs well with fruit but is also delicious on its own, simply dressed in some olive oil. Since I’m a bit of a linguistics nerd, here is its etymology: “from O(ld).E(nglish): fenol, finugl, from L(atin). feniculum, from fenum “hay,” probably literally “produce”. Apparently so called from its hay-like appearance and sweet odor”. Pretty cool!
I have always loved Waldorf salads – dried fruit, nuts, and apples mixed into fresh greens and topped with a savory dressing. I decided to try something a bit different this time: I’m using bulgar as the base! Though this salad lacks the greens that typically set the stage for the fruit and nuts, it was still satisfying yet light. The fennel was crisp and crunchy, and merged well with the sweetness of the apples.
1/2 cup bulgar
1 cup water
dash of salt
1/3 of a sweet onion (about 1/3 cup, chopped)
1 whole apple, chopped
1/2 small bulb of fennel, very thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped dried berries (I used a cranberry/blueberry/strawberry mix)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (important!)
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Prepare the bulgar. Boil the water and a dash of salt; add the bulgar and reduce heat; let simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Mix everything except the bulgar together (dressing + veggies, fruit, and nuts).
3. Let the bulgar cool and then mix in to the salad. Serve chilled or at room temperature.