In the hairdresser recently I noticed that Food and Travel Magazine had a recipe for a fennel and lemon salad which they’d garnished with caramelised walnuts with chilli flakes. I like the concept but with pecans instead of walnuts and minus the chilli, so that it’s worthwhile opening a nice bottle of wine.
This will keep warm in the warming oven for about an hour.
Recipe for warm pasta, fennel and lemon salad
- tsp250g/9 oz kritharaki or orzo pasta (it looks a bit like rice)
- 3 bulbs of fennel, sliced
- 3 lemons – zested and then peeled and sliced
- 1 tbsp bitter honey – chestnut for example
- 40g/¼ cup capers
- 30g/¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 240 ml/1 cup yoghurt (not the thick Greek type, normal, slightly runnier type)
- 60 ml/¼ cup olive oil plus more for frying
- 140g/5 oz Crespo pitted dried black olives with herbs
- 50g/½ cup grated pecorino
- 4 fat cloves of garlic crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
- Smoked salt and Indonesian long pepper
- caramelised and salted pecans – optional – see below
- Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions – go for more al dente timings. Drain.
- At the same time put a generous glug of olive oil in a big saucepan and add the fennel, honey, sliced lemons and lemon zest. Cook gently until soft.
- Meanwhile make the yoghurt dressing by mixing the yoghurt, garlic and olive oil together.
- Empty the fennel and lemons into a heatable serving dish. Add the drained pasta. Mix in the nuts, olives and capers.
- Pour in the dressing and mix in well.
- Serve with the pecorino
For the caramelised and salted pecans:
- 100g/4 oz pecans – chopped
- 60ml/¼ cup runny honey
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp sea salt flakes
- preheat the oven to 180°C
- mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl
- spread the coated nuts out on a silicon-lined baking tray
- bake for 15 minutes.