Fresh Fig, Carrot, Fennel and Kale Salad with Orange Honey Dressing
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 0 minutes
An all-purpose fall and late spring salad is always welcome in my kitchen. This salad makes use of so many of the treasures of the fall and it’s great for the High Holidays, Sukkot and even Chanukah. If you are serving vegans, substitute 2 teaspoons grade B maple syrup for the honey; it tastes different, but it’s equally delicious. This variation will also pair with wonderfully with turkey. If it's winter time and fresh figs aren't available, substitute about 1 ¼ cups of dried Mission figs, stemmed and cut into quarters. I also love to add Cara Cara orange slices or blood orange segments to the winter dried-fig version and switch the dressing to Meyer lemons. It's a fun double citrusy twist that makes those lusciously sweet dried figs sing "California Dreamin'."
3 large bunches Tuscan (lacinato or dinosaur) kale, washed, trimmed, patted dry, and finely shredded (about 10½ cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and finely shredded (about 2½ cups)
2 small to medium parsnips, peeled and finely shredded (about 1 cup)
1 medium (1 pound) bulb fresh fennel, cored, peeled, and finely shredded (about 1¾ cups) (see Kitchen Tips)
9 fresh figs, stemmed and cut in quarters lengthwise or 1 ¼ cups dried Mission figs, stemmed and cut in quarters
⅓ cup orange juice
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon honey, orange blossom preferred
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon toasted ground cardamom (see Kitchen Tip)
¼ teaspoon toasted ground cumin (see Kitchen Tip)
½ teaspoon fresh fennel leaves reserved from the fronds, minced
⅓ cup olive oil
- Combine the shredded kale, carrots, parsnips, and fennel in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, poppy seeds, honey, mustard, salt, cardamom, cumin, and fennel leaves and mix until combined. While whisking, drizzle in the oil slowly (see Kitchen Tips).
- Pour about three-fourths of the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat lightly.
- Arrange the figs decoratively on the top of the salad, drizzle the remaining dressing over them, and serve.
- To prepare fennel, place it on its side on a work surface and cut out the core by making two angled cuts on either side of it with a sharp knife, to form a triangle shape. Remove and discard the core. Peel off any discolored, shriveled or hard outer layers and discard them. Cut off the feathery leaves; you can discard them or reserve them for garnish or for use in a dressing or other seasoning. You will be left with the fennel bulb and its fronds, or “fingers.” Slice or chop as the recipe indicates. Note that some cooks discard the “fingers” as well; for a chopped salad, they are great. I also save them to infuse a liqueur or create an extract to keep the flavor going year round.
- To toast spices, pour the ground or whole seeds into a frying pan or cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Toast for 10 to 20 seconds, or up to 1 minute, until fragrant. Watch carefully so the spices do not burn.
- If your bowl wobbles around precariously while you are whisking with one hand and pouring with the other, dampen a kitchen towel and fashion it into a round “nest” on your kitchen counter. Nestle the bowl into it securely and continue whisking and pouring.