Fennel and Avocado Salad

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)

In a medium to large bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, and salt. Set aside. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Twist the two halves so they “pop” apart. Remove the pit: either edge it out with a spoon, or smack the sharp blade of a knife into it, twist just a bit a pull it out (just be sure to use caution when then pulling the pit off the blade!). Use the tip of the knife to cut the avocado into slices or cubes—carefully cutting through the flesh but not through the peel. Then push the peel, as if you’re trying to flip it inside-out, over the bowl full of dressing and the slices or chunks will fall right out! Toss to coat the avocado with the dressing, mashing some of the avocado into the dressing, if you like. Trim off and discard the root end and the green stalks of the fennel (if there are some frilly leaves attaches to the stalks, reserve them to use as a garnish, if you like). Cut the bulb in half lengthwise, lay the halves cut side-down on a cutting surface, and slice crosswise as thinly as possible (or use a kitchen mandoline). Add the fennel to the bowl.

Peel and thinly slice the red onion. Tame its sharp flavor by rinsing the slices in cold water and then patting them thoroughly dry. Add them to the bowl. Toss to coat the vegetables evenly with the dressing. Add black pepper and more salt to taste. If you reserved some fennel fronds, use them as a delicate and tasty garnish. Serve the salad immediately, or cover and chill for a few hours—just be sure to cover the surface of the salad directly with waxed paper or plastic wrap to keep the avocado from browning.

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