If you have a CSA share, or shop at farmer's markets regularly, you may find your crisper drawer increasingly full of things like kohlrabi, radishes, turnips, and fennel. Cold loving vegetables that lured you in with their colors- pale green and royal purple kohlrabi, pink and white radishes alongside shocking magenta watermelon radishes, creamy white turnips, and fennel with its wispy fronds still attached if you're lucky to find some intact. It's easy to amass these beautiful fall curiosities, but knowing how to prepare them, and perhaps convince your family to eat them, is another story.
This salad is one I make a couple times a week, adjusting the vegetables based on the state of my crisper and how greedy I've been at the farm. I highly recommend using a mandoline (I like this one) to thinly slice all the veg below, it makes quick work of everything so you can have the salad ready in about 5 minutes. Do use the hand guard that comes with every mandoline, this salad tastes best without blood.. If your knife is very sharp and your knife skills are there, you can certainly thinly slice everything by hand.
This recipe is a guide, and I frequently make substitutions based on what I have. I don't list toasted nuts in this recipe, but if you have some, they're a lovely addition. Try adding a bit of crumbled blue cheese or a nice sharp cheddar to serve if you have some.
1 large crisp eating apple, skin on (asian pears are a good addition)
2 stalks celery
1 medium fennel bulb, center core removed
1 large watermelon radish, or a few smaller radishes
1 medium kohlrabi, tough outer skin removed
1 large carrot
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon or whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or fire cider
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, mustard, maple syrup or honey, and your choice of vinegar together until combined and slightly thickened. Seasons with a few large pinches of salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.
Using a mandoline set to slice quite thinly, slice the vegetables and apple. I like to slice the kohlrabi, radish, fennel and carrot quite thinly (try a few pieces as you go and adjust the mandoline accordingly, you want them to be fairly thin). I usually slice the apple and celery a bit thicker, but go with your personal preference here.
Add the veg and apple to the dressing and toss to coat everything with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning, I usually add more salt and pepper at this point, and a bit more vinegar or lemon juice if I find it needs it. Serve immediately for the best texture.