This robust salad is modeled on one from Alon Shaya’s cookbook, “Shaya.” We prefer to make our own candied pecans because they taste better than store-bought; they can be made a day to two in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you don’t have or can’t find Aleppo pepper, substitute ½ teaspoon sweet paprika mixed with ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper for the spiced nuts, then sprinkle the finished salad with an additional pinch or two of sweet paprika. To season the dressing, Shaya uses pink peppercorns, which have a subtle pepperiness and sweet, floral flavor that complement the other ingredients. If you can’t them, we found that 1 tablespoon fennel seed, lightly crushed, works nicely instead.
Apple-Fennel Salad with Candied Pecans
- 1 large egg white
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, plus more to serve (see note)
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, fronds reserved for garnish (optional)
- 2 medium crisp apples, such as Gala or Granny Smith
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced on diagonal
- Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until foamy. Add the pecans and fold until evenly coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pecans to a small bowl; discard the remaining egg white. Add the sugar, Aleppo pepper and ½ teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Spread in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Let cool completely on the baking sheet, then break up any clumps.
- While the nuts bake and cool, in a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, pink peppercorns and 1 teaspoon salt. Halve the fennel bulb lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into thin slices. Add the fennel to the dressing and toss to coat; let stand for up to 30 minutes.
- When ready to serve, halve and core the apples, then thinly slice each half crosswise. Add to the fennel, along with the scallions and pecans and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with additional Aleppo pepper and fennel fronds, if using.