Fresh Fig, Carrot, Fennel and Kale Salad

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kale and fig salad 1

An all purpose fall and winter dish is always welcome in my home 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 and will pair with wonderfully with turkey.

  • Duration
  • Prep Time
  • 6 ServingsServings

Ingredients

  • 3 large bunches Tuscan (or lacinato or dinosaur) kale, washed, trimmed, patted dry, and finely shredded (about 10 ½ 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 Tip)
  • 9 fresh figs, stemmed and cut in quarters lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon honey, orange blossom preferred
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted ground cardamom (See Kitchen Tip)
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted ground cumin (See Kitchen Tip)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh fennel leaves reserved from the fronds, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Preparation

1) Place the shredded kale, carrots, parsnips, and fennel in a large mixing bowl.
2) 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.
3) Pour about ¾ of the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat lightly.
4) Arrange the figs decoratively on the salad, and drizzle the remaining dressing over them, and serve.

Kitchen Tips
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

Glossary

Tuscan kale, also called lacinato or dinosaur kale or cavolo nero in its native Italy, is a variety of kale with long narrow leaves; their texture calls to mind dinosaur skin (at least in the minds of the botanists who gave it its nickname). It has a slightly sweeter flavor and is delicate than than other varieties of kale, while still offering the earthy, bitter qualities that kale lovers enjoy.