For this refreshing Spinach, Apple and Fennel Salad, thinly sliced fennel and apples are tossed with baby spinach, then dressed with a sweet and savory vinaigrette.
Spinach, Apple and Fennel Salad is one of many recipes I tasted at a recent Melissa’s Produce for a media meet-and-greet with Denise Vivaldo & Cindie Flannigan, authors of The Food Stylist’s Handbook.
Professionally trained chefs, food stylists, and authors, Cindie and Denise shared tips and tricks from their 2nd edition ofThe Food Stylist’s Handbook, a book for anyone who wants to learn about all aspects of food styling, whether for blogs, cookbooks, movies, menus, or advertising. They teach you how to slice, plate, tweak and arrange for the camera, so you can become a pro.
Sometimes, food stylists have to be food “fakists” and Cindie showed us how to make “fake ice cream” with vegetable shortening, powdered sugar & cornstarch.
Denise assured us no one would eat it – it’s necessary for movie sets with long shooting schedules.
Every aspect of food styling depends on proper preparation, tools and a strategic plan, the duo explained.
Food placement, lighting, and props are vital to keeping the viewer’s eye engaged and moving around the image.
Creating elevation and movement by propping up pieces creates definition and visual interest.
The goal is to make the food look so appealing that the consumer won’t be happy until they buy it, make it and/or eat it.
Aside from giving great tips on the visual elements, the book is also a valuable resource if you want to pursue a career as a food stylist with topics including; how to start a business, building a style kit, marketing, pricing, and more.
And now, for the recipe!
Spinach, Apple and Fennel Salad was created by Denise as one of the many recipes she has taught at Rancho La Puerta Spa, where the focus is on fresh and healthy.
Try this salad for a weeknight supper with the family, or serve it at a dinner party, either way, it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser! For a variation, try switching the spinach with arugula, or topping with walnuts & shaved Parmesan, or pecans and crumbled goat cheese.
And perhaps best of all, Spinach, Apple and Fennel Salad holds up well so you can make it in advance, making it perfect to take to parties or picnics. Hollywood Bowl here we come!
Spinach, Apple and Fennel Salad
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons rice or white balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon agave syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tarragon coarsely chopped
- 4 cups spinach
- 1 cup apple cored and very thinly sliced
- 1½ fennel bulb stems & fronds removed and finely sliced
- Edible flowers for garnish chamomile, violas, pansies, etc
Place olive oil, vinegar, mustard, agave syrup, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk until creamy. Stir in tarragon.
Just before serving, add spinach, apple, and fennel to bowl, tossing to combine.
Garnish with edible flowers before serving.
If food styling fascinates you as much as it does me, consider taking a two-day workshop with Denise & Cindie in Monrovia, CA March 3rd and 4th, 2018. Click here for the details. They offer other classes around the world as well.
To learn more, visit www.DeniseVivaldoGroup.com
“Every picture tells and sells a story.” – Denise Vivaldo
If you want to produce a photo that sells a dream, brand, product, plate, lifestyle, chef or restaurant…The Food Stylist’s Handbook” is for you.
…and then, she paused for thought
The salad looks so yummy!!! Thank you for sharing the FOOD STYLISTS!!! Great ideas for presentation!!!
Thanks Cheri! So many great idea in this book.
Thanks for sharing the tips from Denise and Cindie. That salad and the shrimp look gorgeous!
The book is full of helpful hints and tips. The salad is light and refreshing as well as easy to make.
Elle m’a l’air très bonne cette salade! Merci Cathy…
Elle a bon goût aussi! Thanks for stopping by Arnaud!
Sue @ It's Okay to Eat the Cupcake
This salad looks beautiful and I know the flavors would be fantastic – perfect for light lunch or brunch side dish!
Thanks Sue. I love when something tastes as good as it looks.
This is such a great resource for anyone who works with food! Your salad is gorgeous too. Where did you find edible flowers? I think those make such a difference in presentation. <3
Gelson’s usually carries edible flowers and I can find them at my Studio City farmer’s market.
This looks so delicious and I have spinach and apples in my garden! Great food tips as well! Thank you!
Thanks Mary, glad you enjoyed it.
Greg Henry (@sippitysup)
I swear I’m having a spinach and fennel salad for lunch today. I’ve got apple in the fridge, so in it goes too. I’ll have to fake the dressing with mint instead of tarragon, and my nasturtiums won’t be blooming for at least a month… don’t tell Denise. GREG
I bet mint would be great as well! Your fake dressing secret is safe with me. 😉
Wish I could have been there! A lot to learn from those two ladies! And such a lovely and fresh salad!! Lovely with a bowl of soup or slice of fresh bread!
The whole event was so much fun. This salad is refreshingly light and the fennel gives it a unique flavor.