Shaved Fennel, Celery and Pear Salad

Eating this salad felt like all the freshness, hope and possibilities of a first Spring day. All the flavors played well together and for someone like me, who doesn't particularly like licorice or anise flavors, I didn't notice any aggressive overtones from the fennel. The pears provided just the right sweet note with the lime dressing and texture-wise, contrasted nicely with the crisp fennel and celery. I used a mandoline to slice the fennel and celery, but a chef's knife can work in a pinch. Just try to slice as thinly as possible. This salad looks best plated individually, but feel free to toss everything together in one big bowl and serve family-style.

Notes: If you're new to fennel like me, here's how to trim and prepare fennel.

Shaved Fennel, Celery and Pear Salad
Serves 4

First prepare dressing. In a glass jar with lid, combine:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Trim, but reserve a few fennel fronds for garnishing:
2 medium fennel bulbs

Cut fennel bulbs in quarters lengthwise, discarding outer layer if too tough. Slice fennel as thin as possible using either a mandoline or chef's knife.

In a medium-size bowl, gently toss sliced fennel together with:
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced diagonally 

Place a mound of sliced fennel and celery on each plate. Divide between the plates:
1 Bosc pear, halved, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise

Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle on top:
toasted, chopped pecan pieces

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds and serve immediately.

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