This four part recipe is a special treat from Signe Quitslund — local chef, artist, horticulturist and talented baker of gorgeous gluten-free sourdough. Her recipe goes perfectly with a salmon fillet!
Shaved Fennel & Herb Salad
Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables - it lends itself beautifully to braising, sautéing, roasting, and pickling, and has a really nice delicate flavor and crunch when left raw. Feel free to add in or substitute other shaved seasonal vegetables - radishes, beets, celery, celery root, zucchini, cucumber, carrots...lots of possibilities! I love serving this with fish, roasted vegetables, and even in tacos. It pairs really nicely with the Lemony Yogurt Sauce I mention below.
1 medium fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, fronds and stalks reserved
5-8 slices Cured Serrano (recipe follows) or 1 small chile, thinly sliced (optional)
¾ cup soft herbs, coarsely chopped (parsley, cilantro, mint, dill, and tarragon are all good here)
1 small lemon/lime, juiced (3-4 tablespoons)
Good olive oil
Spicy Seeds (recipe follows)
Slice the fennel crosswise very thinly using a mandoline (if you have one) or a sharp knife. Toss fennel, chiles, herbs, lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and a big pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix in a few spoonfuls of Spicy Seeds before serving.
Notes: I like to add the fennel fronds in with the soft herbs here, and chop up the fennel stocks to sauté with greens or veggies and add to soups.
We were tossing these in everything at the restaurant this past winter, and now they’ve become a must-have in my home kitchen. I add them to sautés, pasta sauces, blend them into herb sauces and dressings, and toss a few into shaved salads whenever I want a little heat. Lightly curing them mellows their intense heat, and as a bonus, they keep forever!
Thinly slice your peppers (wear gloves or wash your hands vigorously after doing this, and whatever you do, do not touch your skin/mouth/eyes!!!), and place them in a small jar. Add enough salt to thoroughly coat the chili slices, and give it a good shake. Store in the fridge.
Notes: If you like less heat or can’t find serranos, you can do this with jalapeños (mild heat) or fresno chiles (medium heat) instead.
Lemony Yogurt Sauce
This sauce is very versatile - great to smear on the base of a vegetable or grain bowl, pair with salmon or other fatty fish, or dollop on a soup!
1 cup yogurt of choice (dairy or non-dairy; if you’re using a thinner yogurt this will be more of dressing)
Squeeze of lemon or lime (1-2 tablespoons)
Drizzle of good olive oil
Pinch of salt
Optional additions like spices (cumin, coriander, sumac, etc.), chili flakes, fresh herbs, lemon/lime zest
Mix everything together, season to taste, and call it done!
The best version of this is when I make it using a cast iron with a little bacon fat still in it from breakfast. So, if you find yourself in that situation, jump at the chance! I love a sprinkle of these on salads, over fried eggs, on sautéd or roasted veggies...anywhere you’re craving some crunchy texture.
1 tablespoon oil (such as grapeseed, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil)
½ cup larger nuts and/or seeds (pepitas, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, etc.; give any larger nuts a light chop or pound in a mortar and pestle so everything is about the same size)
2 tablespoons smaller seeds (white or black sesame, flax, nigella, etc.)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon mild chili powder
¼ teaspoon aleppo pepper flakes
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon sumac (optional)
Heat a skillet over medium heat (cast iron is best). Once hot, add oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add in your larger seeds and/or nuts and toast for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat if necessary. Once everything is starting to lightly brown and pop, add your smaller seeds. Let them toast for a minute or so, then add the salt, spices, and a few grinds of black pepper. Adjust to taste. Store extra in an air-tight container for up to a few weeks.
Notes: Use whatever nuts and seeds you have! Toss in some spices that sound good (I love coriander and fennel seed). I’d recommend lightly toasting any whole spices first, then crushing them down with a mortar and pestle before tossing them back into the skillet with your mix right at the end. Using some of that random savory spice mix you have in your pantry is a-okay too (ras-el-hanout is a nice one). You could add a little honey or soy sauce to give a sweet or extra salty note. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could lightly fry some garlic to toss in.