The first time I joined my husband Ted's family for a Canadian Thanksgiving meal, we were invited to celebrate with a group of friends at a camp in southern Ontario. The hosts assigned each family some potluck dishes to bring, and one of our assignments was carrots and celery sticks. When we arrived and added our contribution to the long buffet table, I noticed that our little plate of celery sticks was the only speck of green in a sea of brown: turkey, potatoes, gravy, parsnips, onions. If your Thanksgiving menu is looking a bit on the brown side, add this fennel, avocado and grapefruit salad to the mix. Raw fennel, thinly sliced and "marinated" in a mustardy vinaigrette, mellows to a very mildly anise flavor that pairs brilliantly with the tangy grapefruit and creamy avocado. Unexpected, and sure to be a hit.
Fennel, avocado and grapefuit salad with orange vinaigrette
Serves 4; can be multiplied.
For the vinaigrette:
Juice of 1/2 orange (approximately 2 tsp)
1 tsp Dijon mustard (I like grainy mustard, but use what you have)
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
1 large fennel bulb
1 ripe avocado
1 cup grapefruit segments
In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients. Shake vigorously, to emulsify the dressing.
Trim the fennel bulb by cutting across the top to remove the stalks (save the green fronds), and slicing across the bottom at the root end. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise, and remove the hard core from each half.
Use a mandoline, if you have one, to create paper-thin slices of fennel. Or, slice as thinly as you can with a very sharp knife. Peel the avocado, and cut into slices. Add them to a bowl with the fennel and grapefruit segments.
Immediately toss with the vinaigrette, making sure to distribute the dressing over all of the avocado and fennel. Set aside at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. The longer the salad "marinates", the more tender the fennel will be.
Just before serving, toss some of the green fennel fronds into the salad.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Fennel, pear and olive salad
Fennel, apple and walnut salad with pomegranate-orange dressing
Beet and fennel salad
Warm potato, fennel and onion salad
Whole wheat penne pasta with sausage, fennel, tomato and olives
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Spinach pomegranate salad with apples and walnuts, from Pinch My Salt
Tuscan kale salad with honey mustard vinaigrette and pomegranate, from Not Eating Out in New York
Grilled lamb with pomegranate and balsamic, from Gluten-free Girl and the Chef
Grilled mahi with pomegranate molasses and zaatar, from Beyong Salmon
Rockin' rocket salad, from Sel et Sucre
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