French

Apple and Fennel Salad with Phyllo Tapenade Cigars

Delicious winter flavours of fennel and green apple combine in this salad with crisp, refreshing lettuce. Phyllo cigars filled with olive tapenade and decorated with fresh herbs make a simple yet elegant starter.

Fennel has always been something of a mystery to me. Similarly to parsnips and turnips, I’ve known of its existence, but never really been sure of how or when to use it. My trepidation probably stems from the fact that it’s not a vegetable we ate a lot when I was a child; in fact, I don’t remember having ever eaten fennel when I was a child (my mother can chime in here since I’m convinced she’s the only person who reads my blog).

Then there’s the fact that fennel doesn’t seem to be a popular vegetable in Spain either. None of the supermarkets in my neighbourhood carry it, and it was only by chance that I discovered it along with the green papaya at an Indian grocer. But knowing that fennel is a seasonal vegetable, and that season is now, I figured it would be a fine time to get acquainted with this mysterious (to me) bulb.

Delicious winter flavours of fennel and green apple combine in this salad with crisp, refreshing lettuce. Phyllo cigars filled with olive tapenade and decorated with fresh herbs make a simple yet elegant starter.

The fennel comes to me just at the right time as I’ve been looking for a dish with which to serve my phyllo tapenade cigars. I’m a big fan of phyllo pastry and all its wonderful uses. Not only do I use it to make great appetizers like these bruschetta phyllo cups, but it’s also great as a shortcut for samosa pastry.

These phyllo tapenade cigars are extremely easy to make and add a little bit of class to your salad. I made them pretty with some fresh herbs between the layers of phyllo, but you don’t need to do that if you can’t be bothered – it’s just for decoration.

Delicious winter flavours of fennel and green apple combine in this salad with crisp, refreshing lettuce. Phyllo cigars filled with olive tapenade and decorated with fresh herbs make a simple yet elegant starter.

Fennel and apple are a classic combination and this crisp and refreshing fennel and apple salad in a tangy dressing provides the perfect flavour contrast to the rich saltiness of my phyllo tapenade cigars. Although I’ve sworn off dinner parties for the near future, I can’t help but think that this would be a great starter to serve the next time (if ever) we have friends over for dinner again.

Apple and Fennel Salad with Phyllo Tapenade Cigars

Apple and Fennel Salad with Phyllo Tapenade Cigars

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Easy phyllo tapanade cigars dress up a simple winter salad of fennel and apples.

Ingredients

For the phyllo tapenade cigars

  • 4 sheets of phyllo pastry
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Your choice of fresh herbs - I used thyme, basil and cilantro (optional)
  • A small jar (about 125 g/4.5 oz) of vegan tapenade or olivada or olive spread (read ingredients carefully as some contain anchovy, or make your own)

For the apple fennel salad

  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 2 handfuls of your favorite lettuce or rocket or spinach

For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

    For the phyllo tapenade cigars

    1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
    2. Cut each sheet of phyllo in half vertically and then again horizontally so that you have four rectangles. Take two rectangles and cover the rest with a slightly damp towel to prevent drying out.
    3. Brush one rectangle with olive oil and decorate the bottom quarter with fresh herbs (optional). Place the second phyllo rectangle on top of the first. Spread a thin layer of tapenade across the top quarter of the phyllo.
    4. Now, roll the phyllo into a cigar starting from the top down so that the tapenade is in the middle and the herbs are on the outside.
    5. Brush the cigar with a bit of oil and place seam side down on a baking tray. Continue with the remaining phyllo.
    6. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.

    For the apple fennel salad

    1. Remove the stems from the fennel and reserve the fronds. Slice the fennel in half vertically, then place it cut side down and slice diagonally very thinly. You can use a mandoline if you’ve got one. Cut the apples into matchsticks.
    2. Mix together all the dressing ingredients.
    3. Toss the fennel, apple, and lettuce together with the dressing and decorate with the fennel fronds. Serve the salad together with the phyllo tapenade cigars.
    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 6
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gSodium: 279mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 3g

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