I wanted a salad to pair with my poached ocean trout and minted potatoes which was light and complimented the subtle flavours of the fish. Fennel is a great accompaniment to fish and radish a great paring for the anise flavour of fennel, throw in a bit of crunchy, sharp and sour apple and this trio along with come crunchy pecans (or you could use walnuts) make for a super simple and tasty salad which is light and versatile (it would work great too with prawns or other shellfish). I added the soft boiled eggs for a bit of indulgence as I love egg with fish and potatoes,but you could easily serve this salad minus the eggs or if you really wanted to impress, use baby quails eggs.
If you do want to do this, place the quail eggs into boiling water and cook for 1.5 minutes, then plunge into cold water and peel under cold running water ~ a tip to make peeling quail eggs a tad easier is to insert your fingernail into the air bubble at the large bottom of the egg, I find once you do this, the shell comes off a little easier).
The quantities for the below recipe will serve 4-6 people as a side.
2 granny smith apples
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 small fennel bulbs, with feathery leaves attached
4-5 medium-sized radishes
Large handful watercress, thick stalks removed
4 free-range eggs
Small handful fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (best quality you can get)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sherry vinegar
Cut the apple into 1/2 cm slices and then into thin matchsticks, discard core and place apple sticks in a mixing bowl, coat with lemon juice from thoroughly to avoid the apple turning brown.
Using a mandolin, very finely (paper thin) slice the fennel bulbs and radish and add the to apple. Retain the feathery fennel leaves for serving.
To boil the eggs, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and add the eggs. Boil all 5 eggs for 5-6 minutes then test with one egg to see if the white is cooked through, yet the yolk still soft ~ I say this as egg sizes will differ from reader to reader. If the first egg is under-cooked, boil eggs for a further minute or two. When eggs are ready, rinse under cold water, peel and set aside.
While eggs are cooking, make the dressing; combine all ingredients in a jug and whisk together.
Tear the watercress into pieces and add to the other salad ingredients. Add the pecans and toss everything together along with the dressing. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then finally turn out onto a serving platter or bowl and snip over the top some fresh dill and fennel leaves. Slice the eggs in half (or quarters) length-ways and add to the salad. Serve with the dressing on the side.