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Spanish Anchovy, Fennel and Preserved Lemon Salad, Plus Kinfolk Dinner Series

There’s a common sentiment among certain men I know that salad is not a meal. Though I whole-heartedly believe that salad IS a meal, and can be a substantial one, if you choose to make it that way, when it comes to dinner, I prefer to eat salad as a side dish. These days, I’m the ‘heath nut’ and ‘make-everything-from-scratch’ of my family, but my love for salads comes from my parents, who eat it every single day.

I can’t recall a meal I’ve had at my parents’ house, in which salad wasn’t present. Truth be told, I’m pretty easy when it comes to salads: I find 2-3 combinations I love and pretty much rotate. Would you be surprised if I told you that I find it more difficult to come up with creative salad recipes than anything else? Perhaps my problem with salads comes from my love of pure, untouched vegetables, particularly in their peak season.

I love few things more than heirloom tomato slices with a bit of salt, or a fresh cucumber. Give me a carrot to nibble on, and I’ll be a happy girl. Salad dressing makes me feel all sorts of uncomfortable: the pre-made stuff tastes completely fake to me, too much creaminess feels too heavy for the leaves, and the addition of mustard (which I frustratingly find in many dressings) kicks off my allergies. What’s a salad-loving girl to do?

Thankfully, I’ve discovered a salad that defies all salads. I don’t say this lightly. The dressing is simple: just olive oil and vinegar. But the garnishes take center stage. Preserved lemons (which I happen to have on hand thanks to a pickling obsession) and Spanish Anchovies (boquerones) take mixed greens and fennel in a new direction. It’s no secret I love anchovies, but even if you don’t, I beg you to venture out of your comfort zone and try boquerones. They are less salty, and fresher tasting than the average anchovy. In some ways, they remind me of sardines, though they are less fishy. Together with the fresh, yet briny flavor of chopped preserved lemons (I confess: my preserved lemons are actually fragrant Meyer lemons) and some bright, thinly sliced fennel, salad will never be the same.

On a completely separate note, I had the pleasure of attending the Kinfolk ‘Dinner Series’ here in San Francisco (thanks to my lovely friend Kate, who brought me as her date!). Kinfolk is a print magazine (and iPad app) that focuses on gatherings, and includes the work of talented writers, photographers, stylists, and other creative professionals. It actually turned out to be a brunch, and as I expected, Kinfolk did not disappoint. I felt like I stepped into the pages of their beautiful magazine! From the gorgeous bouquets from Studio Choo to baked goodies from Batter Bakery, not to mention a huge wooden crate of walnuts, it was a little fairy tale inside the doors of Heirloom Cafe (which doesn’t usually serve brunch). Food served included rye crostini with smoked salmon, warm Tartine bread, quiche, affogato made with Ritual Roasters coffee, strawberries with cream, scones and other baked goods.  It was nice to run into familiar faces and also get to know a bevy of inspiring individuals. Here are just a few photos I snapped. Can you tell I’m a little obsessed with the arrival of Spring?

Spanish Anchovy, Fennel and Preserved Lemon Salad
adapted from Bon Appétit

1/4 cup of good quality olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2-3 cups of mixed greens or baby arugula
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced with a mandonline
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced with a mandoline
1 tablespoon of minced preserved lemon
6-8 Spanish anchovies in vinegar
salt and freshly-ground pepper

1. Make the dressing: whisk together the oil and vinger in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
2. Combine the salad greens, onion, fennel, and minced preserved lemon in a large bowl. Toss with dressing, to your liking. Season to taste. Then, top salad with the Spanish anchovies.

Musical Pairings: Beach House – Bloom + Spanish Anchovy, Fennel and Preserved Lemon Salad

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • Kasey, It was so fun to meet you in person on Saturday!
    And I’m with you about salads – they definitely make a meal, especially if you throw a little protein into the mix. I need to try your boquerones – I’m not sure that I’ve ever had them. I’m a fan of anchovies and sardines, so I’m sure I’d be happy.
    And perserved Meyers… yum! They make everything good.
    Hope to see you soon,

  • Erin, it was so nice to meet you in person, too! You are just lovely and I’m excited to grab coffee and chat more. You can find boquerones at Whole Foods and once you try them, you won’t want to go back 😉 Also, I’ve been adding my preserved lemons to pretty much everything…they add the perfect zing!

  • You had me at anchovy! I am a salad lover too, and look forward to giving your recipe a try. I agree it’s all about stellar ingredients with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of acid, be it vinegar or lemon juice.

  • Such a great post! The Kinfolk dinners (and brunch) look amazing. I’m eager to attend one if they ever come back to my city.

    And your salad with anchovies and preserved Meyer lemon looks fantastic!

  • This salad sounds like summer! And your “big camera” photos turned out lovely. I’m obsessed with Instagram but it’s clear a nice camera takes such better pics.

  • Glad we’re on the same page, Jess…Anchovies rule!

  • I am definitely in summer mode! I’m glad you liked my pics – it was a big of a whirlwind trying to get any pics…and I feel like I missed out on the broadcasting of events, but I am glad to have big, colorful photos 🙂 Thanks again for being my date!

  • Thanks, Diana! I’m really glad I had the opportunity to attend. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get into their next one! Glad you liked the salad, too. x

  • Love the peek into the Kinfolk Dinner!

  • sarah kieffer

    This salad is so pretty. I’m not a fan of anchovies, but I’ll have to take your suggestion and venture out of my comfort zone. 😉 And the Kinfolk pictures! Love. I’m so glad you got to go. They skipped the upper Midwest, so I’m not going to get a chance to attend one- I’m living it through everyone’s pictures.

  • Thank you, lovely! Anchovies aren’t everyone’s thing, but the Spanish vinegar-packed ones, are pretty different. They’re a lot less salty.

  • I’m so glad! x

  • Beautiful salad, Kasey! I can’t wait to try boquerones. They sound wonderful. Remember the sardine appetizer from Contigo? SO GOOD! And I wish I would have taking note of the wine we had because I think about it often. Possibly too often 🙂 Love your Kinfolk brunch pictures, too. So happy for you that you were able to attend. Thanks for taking us with you!

  • This is my salad (I wanted to say jam… but it’s not jam, it’s a salad)! I absolutely love everything about it… but, mainly the anchovies. Just marvelous!

  • What a lovely meal with the people at Kinfolk! Such charming details, thanks for the peek.’

    I do love this salad, and really, when people balk at anchovies, I always feel compelled to tell them, it’s all in the kind of anchovy! These Spanish anchovies are gorgeous!

  • Ohh, I wish I remembered the wine, too! I’m really glad I got to sneak in there, too. It was a real treat and I’m glad I got to share a little bit of it 🙂

  • Ha! I’m glad we’re on the same page about anchovies. Hope you are having an amazing time in Italia!!

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