Apple-fennel slaw with pecans.

Recently I met my friend and fellow Edible Ohio Valley collaborator Karen Gibson for lunch at the delightful LaSoupe in Newtown. (You’ll want to bookmark Karen’s amazing recipe blog for future and frequent reference.) Karen recently wrote about LaSoupe, its founder Suzy DeYoung and its mission to repurpose discarded produce and feed hungry neighbors. Suzy is not only a generous soul, but she makes damn good soup. A bowl of soup, some salad and conversation with Karen made for a fantastic lunch.

While the soup filled my belly in the most delicious of ways on that crisp fall day, the salad really made me extra happy. It was so simple: thin matchsticks of apple and fennel and a few toasted pecans in a bright vinaigrette. I just loved it.

I had all the ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry — including homemade mayonnaise, which I highly recommend for this recipe — so I got out my handy mandoline and started slicing.

If you don’t have a mandoline, you could cut the fennel and apple into wedges and then into very thin slices. But I’d advocate for acquiring a mandoline — it’s a highly effective, multipurpose kitchen tool that I use for everything from slicing potatoes paper-thin to make oven chips to shredding vegetables into matchsticks. Mine is a Swissmar model that set me back all of 40 bucks, a worthy investment.

This salad is packed with fall flavors — both apple and fennel are in season locally right now. It would make a fantastic addition to your Thanksgiving table, and can be made a day ahead.

Thanks to LaSoupe for the inspiration!

apple-fennel slaw with pecans recipe

makes 4 servings

1 large apple
1 fennel bulb
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon minced fennel fronds
Salt to taste

Quarter the apple and remove the seedy core. Cut the fennel bulb in half and remove the core. Use a mandoline to slice the apple and fennel into matchsticks; transfer to a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the homemade mayonnaise and vinegar. Drizzle the dressing over the apple and fennel, tossing to coat well. Add the toasted pecans, herbs and salt to taste. Serve immediately, or let sit for an hour or so.

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