Summer Fennel & Apricot Salad with Pea Shoots and Rainier Cherry-Mustard Vinaigrette

There’s so many great farmer’s markets in the Edmonton area. I do pretty much 90% of my overall food shopping at one of several markets. Each have their own charm and unique selection of quality food producers. A new market to Edmonton, Mother’s Market, has a great selection of meats, vegetables and cheeses. From there I got some beautiful pea shoots that I’ve been eating as a snack. It’s like the sweetness of fresh peas in crunchy leaves.
A couple of other markets I frequent regularly, Strathcona Market on Edmonton’s south side has amazing producers of organic vegetables. Today I got a huge bounty of fennel, turnips, garlic scapes and multicoloured radishes.

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I then made my way to the premier downtown market, City Market on 104th. There is a great fruit vendor, Sunbest Fruit, who brings the best fruit from our neighbouring province, British Columbia. Today I was excited because they had tweeted about the arrival of the first blueberries and apricots of the season. I also got some wonderful berries for the rest of the week as well.

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With such an amazing variety of produce, my Summer of Salads challenge just became so much easier. Today’s salad harmonized the savoury, licorice-like sweetness of fennel bulb, the sweet-sour fruitiness of apricots and the pleasing crunch of pea shoots harmonized with a slightly peppery cherry-mustard vinaigrette.

Summer Fennel & Apricot Salad with Pea Shoots and Rainier Cherry-Mustard Vinaigrette:

For the Vinaigrette:

3/4 cup Sunbest Fruit Rainier cherries, halved, pitted (this variety is slightly more tart than sweet, summer cherries, but not as tart as sour cherries. A beautiful middle ground)
1 Tbsp grainy mustard (I use homemade)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

Place all of the vinaigrette ingredients into a blender and purée until smooth. Set aside in a large bowl.

For the salad:

4 cups August Organics fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3 Sunbest Fruit fresh apricots, pitted and thinly sliced (this recipe is best when the fruit is slightly underripe so it won’t get mushy in the marinating process)
2 cups Greens Eggs & Ham pea shoots, roughly chopped or torn

In the large bowl with the reserved vinaigrette, add the sliced fennel bulb and stir to coat with the vinaigrette. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

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Add the sliced apricots and marinate for a further 20-30 minutes.

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Toss the marinated fruit and vegetables with the pea shoots and serve with a garnish of fennel fronds. Serves 4 as a lunch-sized salad or 6-8 as a side/starter.

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