Roasted Fennel and Fig Salad

So twice this week, I’ve found myself walking around the city with earphones on.  The earbuds are hooked up to my phone, but there’s no music or sound coming out.  I’m literally just wearing them, like jewelry or something.

This started because I just realized I can watch videos on my phone.   So I put the earphones on the bus to listen to a Ted talk or watch CrossFit videos, but after I’ve learned about the eight secrets of success or found out what is the only thing Chris Spealler has quit, I just leave them in. 

I guess I feel like it gives me a little more privacy. It allows me to be in my own world where I wouldn’t be expected to react to the guy asking for money.  And alternately, it allows me to eavesdrop on candid conversations because the people around me assume I can’t hear what they are saying.

It also makes me feel sort of hip.  Like my internal life is so unique that it requires its own soundtrack.

I’m not sure how long this habit will continue.  I suspect not long.  It’s just kind of a way to mix things up.  The post-New Years/pre-spring months can be a little routine so I’m always looking for simple ways to add interest to my day. 

This salad was born of the same inspiration – a desire to kind of mix things up, add a few interesting ingredients to my plate.  Pairing fennel and figs with hazelnuts and oranges is a fun way to do this.  If you are looking for another, consider adorning yourself with ear buds while you go about your day.

Roasted Fennel and Fig Salad

For salad —

Fennel, ½ bulb

Olive oil, 1 tablespoon

Figs, 4, sliced

Hazelnuts, ¼ cup

Orange, ½, peeled and sliced

Spinach, ½ pound (about 3 cups loosely packed)

Optional: Fish or chicken to top

For dressing —

Olive oil, 2 tablespoons

Orange juice, 2 tablespoons

White wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Slice fennel into thin slices.  Toss with olive oil so the slices are very lightly coated.   Spread slices evenly on baking tray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until fennel is soft and starting to brown.
  2. Roast hazelnuts.  (I do this by placing them in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes.  You can also do it in the oven, just watch them carefully.)
  3. Whisk together all ingredients for dressing.
  4. Toss fennel, figs, hazelnuts, orange slices, and spinach with dressing.   If desired, top with fish or chicken.
  5. Eat immediately.