Fennel and red onion salad with pickled figs

Time 40 minutes
Yields Serves 6
Fennel and red onion salad with pickled figs
(Los Angeles Times)

Quick-pickled figs


In a small saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and black peppercorns to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.


Place the figs in a bowl and pour the pickling mixture over. Let cool, then transfer to a plastic zipper storage bag. Let stand at least 1 1/2 hours at room temperature or refrigerate up to one week.

Salad and assembly


Trim the fennel branches from the bulbs and cut the bulbs in quarters lengthwise. Trim the solid core in the center and then slice the quarters lengthwise as thinly as you can.


Place the sliced red onion in a strainer and rinse under hot tap water. Pat dry.


Prepare the vinaigrette by toasting the coriander seeds in a small, dry pan over medium heat until it is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Grind the seeds fine in a mortar and pestle and stir in the vinegar. Slowly stir in the oil to make a smooth emulsion. Season with salt to taste.


Toast the walnuts in a small, dry pan over medium heat until they darken slightly and become fragrant, about 5 minutes (you can use the same pan as for the coriander seed).


Combine the fennel and the onion in a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss to coat lightly.


Divide the salad evenly among 6 plates, mounding it in the center. Remove the tough stems from the pickled figs and slice the figs in quarters. Arrange the figs over each salad; scatter the toasted walnuts over the top, and serve.

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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