Salad days don't end in August.
Using his philosophy of cooking using seasonal produce, celebrity chef Nathan Lyon shared a recipe from his cookbook "Great Food Starts Fresh" with hundreds of Foothill Fitness Challenge participants at City of Hope on Saturday. Because the participants were there specifically to improve their health, the recipe was well-received. Very well-received.
The challenge is a healthy competition sponsored by City of Hope for residents of surrounding communities; Saturday was the kickoff. The three-month event encourages residents of nearby cities to team up and compete to determine who can make the most fitness gains.
"Where I come into play is after walking around and doing all this exercise, you're going to need to eat something," said the Emmy-nominated television chef to the crowd Saturday morning. "So what I teach people to do is cook healthy, seasonal food."
Cooking with produce that's in season is a shortcut in itself, as it's crunchy, fresh and full of flavor on its own – needing little dressing up. In his 10-minute demonstration, he prepared a crunchy, flavorful salad that just might tempt people who usually only like the croutons-and-cheese part of a salad.
Here's his recipe:
Apple and Fennel Salad
1 large apple, unpeeled (Braeburn, Fuju and Honeycrisp work best) 1 large fennel bulb 1 medium shallot, peeled and diced small, about three tablespoons 1/4 cup black currants 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/3 cup toasted, salted walnut pieces 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian, flat-leaf parsley 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling Kosher salt, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pregrated, for serving
1. Slice apple and fennel bulb into French-fry strips on a mandolin, for approximately 2 cups apple and 2 cups fennel.
2. Toss together the apple, fennel, shallot, currants, vinegar, lemon juice, walnuts and parsley in a medium bowl. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and gently fold to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. To serve, divide the salad among 4 large plates and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over each salad. Finally, using a vegetable peeler, top each serving with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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