It took me a while but recently I’ve been heads over heels for my city. Eighteen months have passed and I’ve gotten used to its rhythm, initially completely foreign and illogical. The late mornings and late nights. The last-second plans and relaxed timing. The mad clusters of cars through which I maneuver with increasing confidence (recklessness even), wondering whether tickets for cyclists ever happen here. The small parks, filled with crowds in which every age group is represented, a reaction to the sudden wave of heat. I stumble upon friends every time I’m out and about. I have a map of spots which never let me down in terms of music, in front of which I can lock my bike and linger for a little bit longer than necessary, until the end of the song. It was a process stretched in time and filled with whining, but now this is home, and I want to learn as much of it as I can before I leave.
It’s probably about time to part with the winter produce with the asparagus, green pea and radish in season. But going cold turkey seems unnecessary, for the early veg is not here for a brief moment only. In transition, I made a quick salad of a pear that just wouldn’t ripen and the last bulb of fennel until September. The fragrant dressing and greens made it appropriate for the weather. Walnuts are pears’ bff and the two always show up together. Consider this post more a remainder of this wonderful combination rather than a recipe.
Pear, Fennel and Walnut salad with Cardamom Dressing
(serves 1 for lunch, 2 as a side)
1 small pear
½ fennel bulb
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp olive oil
1 handful walnuts
1-2 handful greens
for the dressing:
½ lemon, juice
1 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp black pepper, or adjust to preferences
2 tsp oil, I used flax oil, but go for whatever you have
fennel fronds, if the fennel came with them
Start with the fennel. Cut it into thin strips (here is a helpful video). Heat up the oil, add the fennel, sprinkle with sugar, shake the pan, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, without touching. This way the fennel browns nicely.
Chop up the pear into bite-sized pieces. Roughly chop the walnuts, keeping in mind that they are the main source of crunch and texture here.
In a small jar, combine the lemon juice with spices and oil. If your fennel had its green fronds, you can chop them up and add to the dressing.
Wash the greens, dry them.
Combine everything bar the dressing in a bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so the fennel cools down (although this step is optional). Add the dressing before serving. A slice of sour, rye bread would be a nice addition here.