If you’re looking at this salad and thinking that it looks much fancier than my usual recipes, you’d be totally right – it’s not my own recipe. Gold star for you, you’ve been paying attention. In fact, this gorgeous fig and fennel salad was dreamed up by chef Georgina Davies, who I saw demonstrating the dish at an event in London a couple of weeks ago.
The event was hosted by Robert Welch, to celebrate the one millionth sale of their Signature Knife range. That’s a lot of knives – definitely worth celebrating! Georgina demonstrated the dish to me and a group of other bloggers, and then we had a go at recreating it ourselves.
Since there were around ten of us all preparing the same dish, I was so surprised at how different each salad looked! Some were dainty and perfectly arranged – mine was, um, less so. You know how I love the ‘rustic’ look. That’s mine in the middle, the messy one in amongst all the beauty!
We all used knives from the Robert Welch Signature Knife range to make the dish, and I really loved them. They’re perfectly ergonomic, and feel nice and weighty in your hand – and there’s a knife for every purpose imaginable. In each knife, the blade continues right through the handle, so there’s absolutely no way the handle can ever come off. It’s such brilliant craftsmanship.
I’m used to using quite blunt knives at home, so it was a real treat to use a decent set – the super sharp blades are perfect for cutting hard veggies like fennel, and they stood up really well to the soft figs too. They’re a dream for cutting tomatoes (something I always have trouble with when I use my own blunt knives!). Robert Welch are currently offering you lucky people the chance to win your own set (worth £280!), so go and check out the giveaway here if you fancy giving them a try.
The fennel salad is really easy to put together – just mix a few different veggies with fresh figs, cooked rice noodles and a super herby dressing. The end result is crisp and fresh, and although it was very different to the sort of thing I usually make, I really enjoyed it (especially in this hot weather!).
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with fennel before. I’m not a fan of aniseed, so I’ve always steered clear of fennel – but I think I might be a convert. Almost. I still don’t think I’d eat it on its own, or allow it to be the star of a dish, but in this fennel salad there were so many other things going on that it slotted in really nicely. There really is a lot going on here – but somehow it all works. Just look how pretty it is!
In the end I ended up with a salad I was pretty proud of. Even if it was a bit of a mess. Oh well, matches my hair I guess.
And now just one last picture of the beautiful fennel salad, just so my face isn’t the last the last thing you see (I’d hate for you to go away with it ingrained in your memory) – and by the way, to get nice light for these photos I had to take them on my hands and knees on the floor with my bum in the air, right in front of a large window that looked out onto a London street.
Oh dear, now that’s an even worse image to go away with. Never mind. Fig and fennel salad – make it.
- 100 g fresh rice noodles (~ 1 cup)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 small courgette (zucchini)
- 1 small bulb fennel
- ~ 8 radishes
- 2 figs
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Small handful fresh mint
- Small handful fresh coriander (cilantro)
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- leaves Large handful mixed salad
- 1 tbsp peanuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
Drizzle the cooked rice noodles with sesame oil, and toss to coat. Add to a large bowl or serving dish.
Next, prepare the vegetables. Cut the courgette into thin sticks, or use a vegetable peeler to cut ribbons. Thinly slice the fennel and radishes, and quarter the figs.
Add the vegetables to the bowl, and drizzle with lemon juice to prevent any browning.
To make the dressing, finely chop the mint and coriander, and mince the garlic. Add to a small bowl with the mustard, lime juice and olive oil, and mix well. Season generously.
Add the salad leaves to the serving dish, and drizzle over the dressing. Toss gently. Serve topped with roughly chopped peanuts and sesame seeds.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.