From Great Neck to Montauk, Long Beach to Orient, Long Island is brimming with chefs, bakers, vintners, brewers, fishers and artisanal producers who continue to whet our collective appetites. We have reached out to some of our talented culinary colleagues and have asked them to share some of their more beloved, tried-and-true holiday recipes. Throughout the month of December we will, in turn, share them with you.
Tina Annibell, who was featured in the spring issue of Edible Long Island, is a holistic health coach whose private practice, Nourished Living, “focuses on the principles of self-care through food, which includes individualized diet assessments, meal planning, farming practices, food education and cooking classes.” Tina’s recipe for fennel, pomegranate and granny smith salad is a dazzling way to keep it healthy and festive throughout the holiday season.
Before I tried this dish, I thought I did not like raw fennel, now I know better; it’s all about the thin slices. In addition to a stunning presentation, this salad is light and refreshing. It’s also a digestive aid and a great antidote to the heavier, richer foods of the holiday season. It may be prepared several hours ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Don’t know how to deseed a pomegranate? No worries! Check out this short video and then you will. The preparation is not as lengthy as the directions make it seem, I just wanted to give you very specific details on how to deal with the fennel and pomegranate so there’s no guesswork.
Fennel, Pomegranate and Granny Smith Salad
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp brown rice, white balsamic or champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 large fennel bulb (or 2 small)
1 seedless (English) cucumber
1 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored and very thinly sliced
seeds from 1 pomegranate
From lemon, grate 1 teaspoon zest and squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice. In a jar or container with a tight fitting lid, combine oil, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, honey and salt. Shake well. Taste and adjust seasonings to keep your palate happy. Dressing can be refrigerated up to three days.
Pluck 2 tablespoons or so of fennel fronds from fennel tops and reserve for garnish. Trim away the dark green stalks and a 1/4 inch of the root end, discard. If the bulb is brown or bruised in areas, use a peeler to peel away those areas. Cut the fennel bulb into quarters lengthwise. Remove the core from each section. Slice each section of fennel bulb crosswise very thinly. (This might be the time to break out the mandolin if you have one.)
With a vegetable peeler, peel alternating strips from cucumber skin. Cut it in half lengthwise, then thinly slice cucumber cross-wise at an angle.
To remove seeds from the pomegranate: first use a paring knife to score the skin, as if you were dividing the fruit into quarters. Next fill a bowl with water. The bowl should be large enough so that you can submerge the pomegranate and both of your hands completely under the water. Immerse the pomegranate under the water and break it apart with your hands. The seeds will fall to the bottom and the skin and white inner membranes surrounding the seeds will float to the top. After the seeds are completely separated from the skin and white membranes, tip the bowl of water so the pieces of skin and white membranes pour out of the bowl then fill it with more water. After pouring off any of the remaining skin and white pithy pieces, drain the seeds in a colander.
On a large serving platter, layer fennel, cucumber and apple. Shake dressing again and drizzle all over. Top salad with pomegranate seeds and fennel fronds.