Fennel Salad with Figs, Feta, Grapes & Walnuts


My most severe critic and dear husband, said that this salad was a great success! He loves fennel with fruit, especially fresh figs! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.




1 cup walnut halves, chopped coarsely

Pinch Salt (optional)

Best-quality olive oil

2 Tablespoons minced shallots

2 garlic cloves, juiced

1/2 teaspoon chopped tarragon

1/4 teaspoon chopped rosemary

4 Tablespoons sherry vinegar

7 Tablespoons best-quality olive oil

Pinch black pepper

8 ripe figs

20 red seedless grapes, cut in half

1 head radicchio (use a few inside leaves)

1 large head fennel

6 to 8 ounces fresh feta

Cream sherry used to warm up the figs and grapes




  1. In a small bowl, add 1 and ? teaspoons olive oil and 3 teaspoons cream sherry, stir and toss the walnuts in this bowl. Let them sit for a few minutes. Then, toast the walnuts in a pan, stirring constantly until nuts are done and not burnt. Set aside.
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the shallots, garlic, tarragon, rosemary, sherry vinegar and 7 Tablespoons olive oil. Season with pinch salt and pinch black pepper, or to taste. This is the home made vinaigrette dressing for the salad.
  1. Wash, dry, trim the hard top off and halve the figs lengthwise.
  1. Remove any wilted outer leaves from the radicchio and use a few of the center leaves, just to add color to the salad and a bit of bitterness to set off the sweetness of the fresh fruit, and cream sherry. Pile the leaves on top of each other, roll them up in a tube shape and cut thin ribbons. Set aside
  1. Trim the top off the fennel, and slice it with a mandolin, into paper-thin strips, discarding the core.
  1. Use the pan you toasted the walnuts in. Brush the figs and grapes, with the vinaigrette and place the fruit in the pan, figs with cut-side down, over medium flame. After about 30 seconds, turn the figs (with the grapes) and cook for another 30 seconds.
  1. Into a salad bowl, add the fennel, radicchio, grapes and figs. Toss lightly.
  1. Now, to the salad add, the feta and walnuts. Toss again.
  1. Now, slowly drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the salad and give it one last light toss

Serve immediately, while the figs and grapes are still warm.




Remember a few weeks ago, I mentioned that we discovered a new “Cab” at db Bistro in Manhattan?  And I tried to order it right away, but because it’s gotten so popular, all that was left were “splits” so ordered a case?  Well, here it is, smooth as silk to start, then it grabs your throat, and you love it because it fires up, with heat all the way down.   Ah, you’re gonna want what we’re having!


We had a minimalist Sunday supper, with the Fennel Fig salad as the vegetable accompanying some fresh salmon, quickly cooked, medium rare, in an olive-oiled pan, with some dill and this wine (photo above), which every sip, we savored.


Then, believe it or not, we each had (portion control) a weight watchers ice cream sandwich for dessert.


Saw an opera that we’d never seen before, Macbeth, at the MetOpera. It was lugubrious beyond words, with dark morose sets, that belied the beautiful music of Verdi. The voice of Lady Macbeth was sung to perfection by Anna Netrebko, whose powerful, gorgeous voice we’ve heard many times at the MetOpera, where she made her debut in 2002. She has dual citizenship in Russia and Austria (she speaks no German) but lives in Manhattan. If you’ve never heard her sing, you’ve missed one of the great sopranos. I still prefer another Manhattan soprano, Renee Fleming, but loved Netrebko in Macbeth, this weekend. The audience went wild with many curtain calls.  This was our first opera this season; good to be back at the MetOpera.  We left feeling high on life!


Here are some examples of a great soprano voice


Anna Netrebko sings Lady Macbeth’s aria from Act I of Verdi’s “Macbeth.” Production: Adrian Noble

Anna Netrebko sings “La luce langue, il faro spegnesi” from Act II of Giuseppe Verdi’s MACBETH

Final scene, Act II, Macbeth

Anna Netrebko, “O Mio Babbino Caro” Puccini

Anna Netrebko, “Casta Diva“, Norma, Bellini

We had a good week, hope you did too.



From Our Table to Yours!


Bon Appetit!



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