This salad combines the unique flavor of raw fennel with the sweetness of apples and cucumber. You can throw in any veggies that you happen to have such as finely sliced carrots, napa cabbage, or spring onions. The recipe below is my favorite combination. The preparation method interesting as well; have you ever massaged your veggies? Massaging in salty plum vinegar (or actual grain salt) makes the vegetables wilt slightly. They will still be crunchy when eaten though, and the texture is similar to a crunchy pickle. In a way this is an instantly pickled salad! I love this salad on the side of a starchy main course like hash-browned sweet potatoes and kale.
Toasted Sunflower Seeds
1 Container oil-free unsalted sunflower seeds
Nama shoyu (unpasteurized, aged soy sauce) or soy sauce to taste
Spread the sunflower seeds out in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of nama shoyu and stir with a spoon or spatula. Bake at 350 for 2 minutes until gently browned. If more time is needed watch the seeds carefully–they will burn quickly!
1/2 Small radicchio
1 Medium cucumber
1 Medium fennel bulb, trimmed of stems
1 Large apple, cored
1 Tablespoon umeboshi plum vinegar (substitute 1 teaspoon sea salt)
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
Use a mandolin or very sharp knife to slice all of the vegetables and apple as thin as possible. Mix them together in a large bowl. Add the plum and rice vinegars. Use your hands to massage the vinegar into the vegetables for several minutes. Water should start to come out of the veggies as they begin to wilt slightly. When there is a good amount of liquid in the mixing bowl, set a plate on the veggies in the bowl with a weight on top (such as a full tea kettle). Press the salad like this for 30 minutes. Drain away the excess liquid. If the salad tastes salty (or if salt was used instead of plum vinegar), give it a gentle rinse. Enjoy!