Talk about big, bold flavour and in no less, a salad. I’m not sure which would win if sweet liquoricey fennel and peppery baby arugula duked it out. Luckily, in this salad, they aren’t competing; they actually marry beautifully.
The salad only has three main ingredients because the vinaigrette is loaded with intensity. The champagne vinegar cuts through the robust olive oil and the sweetness of the dates are mellowed by the tiniest pinch of mace. They are all infused with the deep sage balm, however redolent, forever woody, so can definitely hold its own.
I love this salad!! The creaminess (what a treat!, most vinaigrettes are liquidy) of this vinaigrette not only coats the vegetables ostentatiously, but feels extremely extravagant on the tongue. The arugula, fennel, dates, mace, and sage ironically come together to literally explode in your mouth with a force so powerful it’s dizzying.
The vinaigrette takes minutes to prepare making this an ideal light weeknight meal or accompanying side.
Serves 4 (as a side or 2 as a main)
|Fennel, bulb, large, sliced||1/2|
|Arugula, baby||5 oz|
|Macadamia nuts, toasted (if serving it as a main for 2 people you’ll need 1/3 cup of macadamia nuts, otherwise you will need 2/3 cups as a side for 4 people)||1/3-2/3 cup|
|Shallot, diced||1 tbsp|
|Olive oil||5 tbsp|
|Vinegar, champagne||2 tbsp|
|Dates, finely chopped||2|
|Garlic, clove, minced||1|
|Mustard, Dijon||1 tsp|
|Black pepper||1/4 tsp|
|Mace, ground||Small pinch|
|Sage, leaves, fresh, chopped||4|
- In a small pan, over medium heat, toast macadamia nuts. Watch them very carefully. Their high oil content lends them to burning quite quickly. They normally take 4-5 minutes.
- Using a hand blender, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. The vinaigrette should be on the thick side, very creamy.
- Combine baby arugula and sliced fennel in a medium salad bowl.
- Add vinaigrette and toss well. You will have vinaigrette leftover for another time.
- Place mixed salad on individual serving plates and top with macadamia nuts.