Thursday, July 31, 2014

Salad of Fennel, Edamame, Arugula & Parmesan with Crispy Croutons and Cheesy Tarragon Dressing

I like salads but I find it hard to get too excited about most of them. This Salad of Fennel, Edamame, Arugula and Parmesan with Crispy Croutons and Cheesy Tarragon Dressing is one to get excited about. So many flavors and textures. I slightly adapted a Nigel Slater online recipe--swapping the broad (fava) beans out for the more plentiful in Hawaii edamame, slightly reducing the oil in the dressing, and since I didn't have tarragon vinegar, making my own with champagne vinegar and dried tarragon. The dressing contains a raw egg yolk--I left it in as I had good quality local eggs and like to live on the edge. ;-) But you could always omit it if you prefer.   

Salad of Fennel, Edamame, Arugula and Parmesan with Crispy Croutons and Cheesy Tarragon Dressing
Adapted from Nigel Slater via
(Serves 2) 

400g (14 oz) broad beans in their pods (I used edamame)
1 Tbsp tarragon vinegar (I used champagne vinegar + 1 tsp dried tarragon)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
100ml (3.3 oz) olive oil (I reduced to 2 oz)
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan
a block of Parmesan for shaving
2 tsp lemon juice
2 thick slices of white bread
oil for frying the bread
1 medium fennel bulb
4 double-handfuls of small, hot salad leaves, such as rocket and watercress

(I garnished with some of the fennel fronds)

Pod the beans and boil them in lightly salted water for 4 or 5 minutes till tender. They shouldn't need skinning.

Make the dressing by whisking the vinegar, mustard, egg yolk and oil together with a little salt and black pepper then beating in the grated cheese. Squeeze in the lemon juice, stir, then set aside for a few minutes.

Cut the bread into small squares and fry in shallow oil till golden on all sides. Drain on kitchen paper.

Slice the fennel thinly. Toss it with the leaves and drained beans in the dressing. Pile the salad on to 2 plates, shave pieces of Parmesan over with a vegetable peeler. I usually do at least 8 per salad, depending on my dexterity with the peeler. 

Tip the hot croutons over the salad and eat straightaway while crunchy.

Notes/Results: A keeper salad and dressing recipe for sure. The flavors work well together--the salty creaminess of the Parmesan in the dressing is perfect with the peppery arugula and the light licorice taste of the fennel. The edamame and warm crispy croutons add good contrast to the crispy greens and fennel. Very satisfying. This is a nice starter salad--easy to prepare but elegant, or a perfect as a side with some grilled fish. I confess to eating most of both portions as my dinner and being very happy about it. I will make this again. 

This Nigel Slater dish is linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs for this week's Serving Up Salads theme. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links of the post.


  1. If the USA would just follow recommendations and allow the vaccination of hens against salmonella, you could go CRAZY with the raw eggyolks! This salad does look really good though.

  2. this looks and sounds great, perfect for the heat we've been having!

  3. This is an interesting salad, with so many different flavors and dressings! Plus it lets you live on the wild side with that egg yolk. :P

  4. Hi Deb,
    Using edamame beans instead of broad beans is a wonderful sub. I like the green theme in this salad! With the vinegar dressing and grated cheese together sounds very nice! :)

  5. Nigel has SO MANY recipes using broad beans and I have to say I'm in love with the idea that you used edamame instead! And I confess to giggling when you mentioned living on the edge with the egg yolk:) I like to live on the edge like that too.

    This salad looks like a winner, Deb. Those homemade croutons...does it get any better?

  6. Couscous & ConsciousnessAugust 3, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    This is such a great looking salad, Deb - one I would happily make a meal out of . I love that you used edamame instead of broad beans, and this is a great combo of textures and tastes. The dressing sounds sensational - I would definitely run with the egg yolk :-)

  7. What a gorgeous salad! I love raw fennel and in combination with all of those other wonderful ingredients, sounds delicious. Fava beans have a very short season here so I often use frozen, which are quite good but need to be peeled, so I love your edamame substitution - no peeling required, ever!

  8. I can't find fresh edamame here, but favas have just their season here, just like fennel. A great combination


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