Celery, Fennel and Pear Salad

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This is my new friend Aysim. She is the most enthusiastic women in Greensboro and I adore her crazy personality. She grew up making pasta with her family and joined in pasta making last week. On top of loving the pasta making (I haven’t seen Aysim NOT love something), she also was the only person with experience cooking with fennel. But, only eating cooked fennel! So, I was glad to introduce her to something new.

We made this super easy, fresh and seasonal salad to go along with the homemade pasta and double ragu sauces. It’s crisp and perfect for Fall dinners. Aysim loved the fresh fennel just as much as cooked – although she was, of course, an easy convert.

Celery, Fennel, and Pear Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts, from Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian 

  • ¾ cup walnuts

  • 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cored, and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick (1 cup)

  • 2 to 3 celery stalks, cut on the bias into ¼-inch-thick slices (1 cup)

  • 1 large Bosc pear, quartered, cored, and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices (1 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped celery leaves

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • A 2-ounce chunk of Pecorino for shaving

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts out on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and golden, about 8 minutes. Cool, then roughly chop.

In a large bowl, toss together the fennel, celery, pear, walnuts, and celery leaves. Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and the olive oil.

Divide the salad among four serving plates. Use a vegetable peeler or a wide-bladed Microplane to shave the cheese over the salad. Finish with cracked pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

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