Iceberg Salad with Fennel, Feta and Black Walnuts
To some, Iceberg lettuce is rather 'retro,' recalling bland, uninspired salads of the 50's & 60's. For many, though, it's always been something of a guilty pleasure - not as hip or trendy as mesclun or arugula. But iceberg lettuce has never quite gone away; it obviously has something that continues to appeal to many people.
Why deny it?
Iceberg lettuce is satisfying - mild in flavor, crisp & cool. It's a great supporting player for other more assertive, distinctive flavors, like salty feta cheese, thinly-sliced fennel and robust black walnut oil.
Place the Black Walnut pieces on a baking sheet and toast in a 300 degree oven for approximately 8 - 10 minutes or until slightly browned and aromatic. Be very careful not to let them burn. Remove from oven and set aside.
Trim fronds & stem from the fennel bulb, removing any brown or discolored areas. Slice very thinly with a sharp knife or mandolin. Core the apple and slice into 'batons' - thin sticks about 1/4" in diameter. Place in a small bowl of cold water acidulated with 1 tsp lemon juice.
Place the wedges of iceberg lettuce on chilled salad plates. Toss the sliced fennel with the dressing and mound half on each plate alongside the lettuce. Drain the sliced apple well and scatter over the top. Drizzle any remaining dressing over the salads and top with the feta cheese and toasted walnuts. Serve with additional black pepper at the table.
Black Walnut Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Black Walnut Oil
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh black pepper to taste
Place ingredients in jar, cover with lid and shake vigorously.