Trout, Fennel, and Walnut Salad
You’ll notice there are no quantities written for the amount of each ingredient listed for the salad; this is because we want to encourage you to taste and to tinker, and to find the textural balance that makes your palate dance. The vinaigrette can easily be scaled up or down to suit the amount of salad you choose to make, simply keep the ratios the same.
For assembling the salad:
Butter toasted walnuts, method follows
Thinly sliced fennel, dressed in lemon, olive oil and salt
For the vinaigrette:
2 tbsp minced shallot
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp dijon mustard
¼ tsp honey
5 tbsp cold pressed walnut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the walnuts:
A pat of butter
Pinch of aleppo
Pinch of salt
Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add your walnuts to the skillet with a pat of butter, a generous pinch of salt and a touch of aleppo pepper. The butter will quickly melt; give the pan a good toss to coat the walnuts in the melted fat. Keeping a close eye on the skillet, toast the walnuts till they are deeply aromatic and golden. You’ll want to shake the pan every minute or so to prevent burning. Gently crush them into smaller pieces and set aside for later.
To make the vinaigrette, start by macerating minced shallots in the white wine vinegar. Set aside to macerate for at least 5 minutes. This process gently pickles the shallots and mellows their punch. Add the dijon, honey, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the oil in a steady stream while whisking to combine. Alternatively, you can add all of the ingredients to a small jar and shake, shake, shake to emulsify. Taste for seasoning and adjust if need be.
To assemble the salad, dress your lettuce generously in the vinaigrette. Because lettuce can be rather delicate, I prefer to dress the lettuce on its own and then assemble all of the other ingredients. Add your dressed lettuce to a large platter and nestle in the lemony sliced fennel, small pieces of trout, and crushed walnuts. Finish with torn fresh tarragon and another grind of black pepper.