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Fennel Salad with Espresso Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese

Serves 4

Morph simple fennel bulbs into a delicious salad with this unexpected dressing created by Chef Bill Jones. Use fresh espresso or strong French press coffee. Read the story


  • Fresh Espresso 1/4 cup
  • Maple Syrup or Honey 1 tsp
  • White Wine Vinegar 1 Tbs
  • Juice and Zest of 1 orange
  • Grapeseed Oil 4 Tbs
  • Fennel Bulbs 2, stalks removed
  • Red Onion 1, peeled and trimmed
  • Spanish Seasoning Powder (recipe below) 1 Tbs
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • Goat Cheese 1/4 cup, crumbled

Spanish Seasoning Powder

  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Cumin Seeds 2 Tbs
  • Black Peppercorns 1 Tbs
  • Coriander Seeds 1 Tbs
  • Dried Oregano 1 Tbs
  • Hot Spanish Paprika 2 Tbs
  • Salt 1 Tbs

Cook It

Spanish Seasoning Powder

  1. Cover a small plate with paper towel. Place the orange zest on the paper and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the zest is dry but not browned (time will vary with microwave). The zest will stiffen as it cools. When it appears dry, remove from the microwave and set aside.
  2. In a dry skillet over medium heat, add the cumin, peppercorns, and coriander. Shake the pan and heat the spices until aromatic, about 1 minute. Transfer spices to a plate and let cool. Grind in a coffee or spice grinder along with the orange zest and oregano.
  3. Combine the ground spice mixture with the paprika and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir until spices are evenly distributed. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
  4. Combine the espresso and maple syrup in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to about half the volume. Set aside to cool.


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the reduced coffee syrup, vinegar, orange juice and zest. Drizzle in the oil in a steady stream, whisking until incorporated and thick.
  2. Place the fennel on a cutting board and trim off any dark green tips, leaving only the light green and white parts. Remove any outer leaves that are bruised or dry. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise and remove the hard core. With a sharp knife or mandolin, shred the fennel as thinly as possible and place it in a salad bowl.
  3. Cut the onion as thinly as possible and add it to the fennel.
  4. Season the vegetables with the spice powder, salt, and pepper, and toss well to coat. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Just before serving, toss with half the dressing and mix well. Transfer to a serving plate, top with crumbled goat cheese, and drizzle a little of the excess dressing around the plate. Serve at room temperature.

This recipe comes from TheDeerholme Vegetable Cookbook by Bill Jones (Touchwood Editions, 2015.)