How many times have you successfully replicated a favorite restaurant dish at home? I’ve tried many, with very little success, save for this easy-to-make, fresh-as-springtime slaw.
The inspiration for this salad was from a dinner I had at a Minneapolis restaurant sometime in the 90’s. I wish I could remember which one. (Bobino? Lowry’s?) I’ve made it so many times since then that I’ve forgotten where I first fell in love with it. I believe the original had an olive oil dressing, which I have replaced with the anise-flavored French liqueur, Pastis.
It’s a perfect dish to go with a quick weeknight supper, but also unusual enough to serve to company. And, it has so few ingredients that it’s easy to remember what you need when you’re dashing through the grocery store.
For 2-3 people:
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- Half a fennel bulb
- A few slices of red onion
- 3 tablespoons Pastis, or to taste
Wash the fennel, (including the fronds, and shake as much water as possible off of them). Core the bulb, and slice it as thinly as possible on a mandoline. If you do not have a mandoline you should make another salad because otherwise you will be disappointed.
Chop a handful of the fronds and add them to the bowl, reserving some for garnish.
Peel the apple and grate it on the largest setting of a box grater. Add it to the fennel. You should have roughly equal amounts of each.
Slice the onion on the mandoline (same setting as the fennel) and add to the salad. I personally don’t love raw onion, so I taste it first; if it’s a gentle, sweet onion I add a bit more.
Pour some Pastis on top. You can add as much as you like. I personally love the flavor so I usually use about a ¼ cup.
Add a few grinds of pepper, stir the salad, and garnish with the remaining chopped fronds. Serve within 15 minutes or else the apple will start to brown.