So we are now well into Autumn here in Australia, although after living in London it really still feels like summer to me! March and April would have to be my favourite months here in Oz. The sea is so warm from all the summer sun and the stormy weather has usually settled leaving long sunny days without the humidity and with cooler mornings and evenings. Perfection!
I have noticed since arriving back in Australia that my cooking style has begun to change a lot. While I love trying new recipes my experience with food has allowed me to become more spontaneous with how and what I cook. This salad was a simple lunch last weekend that was inspired simply by items that needed to be used in the fridge and a craving for a favourite salad I used to share with my friend in London.
A very easy salad to throw together and the combination of the fennel and apple along with creamy vinegar and crunch of the nuts is perfect, especially in these autumn months. You can easily substitute many of the vegetables and also the protein. I used chicken as I had used a whole chicken to make stock the evening before and wanted to use the tender shredded meat but you could eliminate the meat completely or change to what you desire. A smoked duck breast or maybe a piece of fish would also be great.
Here’s my recipe:
140g green beans, blanched and cut into bite size pieces
3 spring onions, sliced
1 green apple, shaved ( I used a mandolin to shave thin pieces of the apple and fennel but you could grate or even just slice thinly)
1 large fennel, shaved
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded ( as mentioned above I had already poached a whole chicken for a broth so used the shredded meat from this)
chopped pecans to top
3 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper
To make the dressing whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Combine all of the chopped vegetables, fruit and chicken in a medium mixing bowl and top with the dressing. Mix to coat before serving onto individual plates and topping with the pecans.
Note: I went light on the dressing and just drizzled over the top as I wanted more crunch then cream. If you prefer more dressing you can double the dressing recipe and mix through as suggested above. Also if your not a big fan of the yoghurt flavour you could use a mayonnaise or even go half/half. I think the yoghurt is delicious and a healthier option though.
Hope you enjoy as much as we did.