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There's something special about spring salads

Terri Hahn

It's no secret I love salads. All kinds of salads. Main dish salads. Potato salad. Pasta salad. Fruit salad. Side salads. Just about any kind of salad. OK, not kale salad. Tried it, just can't do it.

But there is something about spring that just screams "salad." Maybe because it's getting too warm for the comfort food soups and casseroles we've loved over the winter. Maybe it's the sight of all the spring greens and veggies showing up in the supermarkets.

Asparagus, while available all year-round, is still best in springtime. Radishes are among the earliest garden veggies to make an appearance. Baby spinach. New potatoes. Spring peas. All great for adding to spring salads.

So enjoy the warmer weather and check out this recipe, along with several posted on the Advocate-Messenger website, for spring.Tender, sweet spring leaves, tart, crunchy Granny Smith apples and the gently licorice flavor of crisp fennel combine for a significant salad that's a symphony of textures,

delivering the cheering taste of spring in every bite.

Spring Greens Salad with Granny Smith Apples and Fennel1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup olive oil or walnut oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons prepared Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon agave or honey

1 large bulb fresh organic fennel (or 2 small), thinly sliced, long stems and fronds reserved for another use

2 bunches fresh organic spinach, kale, arugula or other tender spring greens torn into bite-sized bits

1 Granny Smith apple or other tart apple, sliced thin

1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds (optional)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pour chopped walnuts in a shallow baking dish and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until walnuts darken and crisp and smell rich and buttery. Remove the walnuts from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk together in a small bowl the olive or walnut oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard and agave or honey.

In a large salad bowl, toss together spinach or other spring greens and thinly sliced fennel. Add half the dressing and toss gently.

Scatter the thin slices of apple and roasted walnuts on top. Drizzle some or all of remaining dressing over all. Toss again. Sprinkle in fennel seeds (if using) and salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Recipe from: Ellen Kanner


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