This imaginative and unusual salad from The Chef in a Truck by François Perret marries together the anise of fennel with the sweetness of orange marmalade and dates.

This is a recipe that was tested in the food truck. At the time, I was not entirely convinced it would work. I didn’t think dates or marmalade should be added – or even olives, if my memory serves me right. They can be replaced by a few orange segments instead, resulting in a fresher (and, for me, more enjoyable!) salad. A little fleur de sel (sea salt) and a few turns of the pepper mill will enhance the flavour.

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François Perret’s fennel salad

This imaginative and unusual salad from The Chef in a Truck by François Perret marries together the anise of fennel with the sweetness of orange marmalade and dates.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French salad, Fennel Salad
Author: François Perret


  • Food processor or blender
  • Mandoline



  • Scant ½ cup 100 ml olive oil
  • 3 tbsp 40 ml calamansi vinegar (or another lemon vinegar)
  • 3 tbsp 40 ml Pacific (alcohol-free pastis)
  • 5 tbsp 40 g confectioners’ sugar

Oat milk rice pudding

  • 1 tbsp 10 g cornstarch
  • 1 oz 30 g light brown sugar
  • Scant ¾ cup 5½ oz/150 g risotto rice
  • 4 cups 1l oat milk
  • Orange marmalade optional
  • 1 lb 500 g oranges
  • 1 1 ⁄3 cups 9 oz/250 g superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp 4 g fruit pectin (optional, but it gives a better set)


  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • A little lemon juice
  • 1 lb 500 g lemon sorbet
  • 10 pitted dates thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 large oranges peeled and segmented
  • 20 Taggiasca olives optional
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • Borage flowers
  • Fleur de sel sea salt and freshly ground pepper


To prepare the vinaigrette

  • Whisk all the ingredients together until evenly combined. Set aside.

To prepare the oat milk rice pudding

  • Mix the cornstarch and sugar together. Blanch the rice in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under running cold water.
  • While the rice is blanching, heat the oat a simmer. Add the rice and simmer gently over low heat until the rice is tender (about 15 minutes). Stir in the mixture of cornstarch and sugar, then bring briefly to a boil. The rice should be very creamy.

To prepare the orange marmalade

  • Prick the oranges all over with a fork.
  • Place them in a saucepan with sufficient cold water to cover them and bring to a boil. Drain and repeat 8 times, using fresh water each time.
  • Cut the oranges into quarters, remove the seeds, and purée in a food processor or blender. Transfer the purée to a saucepan, add the sugar and pectin (if using), and cook for 2 minutes. Let cool.

To assemble

  • Slice the fennel bulbs very thinly with a mandoline and toss in the lemon juice to stop the slices from oxidising.
  • Place a teaspoon of orange marmalade (no more, as it is very sweet) in each serving dish. Add the rice pudding, a scoop of lemon sorbet, and a few date slices (if using).
  • Divide the fennel slices between the serving dishes, along with the orange segments. Drizzle over the vinaigrette and season.
  • Serve garnished with a few olives (if using), dill sprigs, and borage flowers.

Recipe from The Chef in a Truck: The Fabulous Culinary Odyssey of a French Pastry Chef in California by François Perret and Éric Nebot (Flammarion, 2021). Photography © Bernhard Winkelmann.

This book documents what happens when François Perret, world-renowned pastry chef at the Ritz Paris, leaves behind his state-of-the-art kitchen to compete in a Los Angeles food truck competition.

Trading in his chef’s toque for a baseball cap, he roamed central California in his food truck, sampling fresh produce and culinary
specialities with local growers and chefs. His encounters inspired him to reinterpret American classic recipes including s’mores, tacos, donuts and cookies.

His experience, seemingly an inversion of the Ratatouille story, culminates into the perfect fusion of French pastry technique and the sunny flavours of California. Perret, whose madeleines have been described as “a masterpiece” by Pierre Hermé, first shared his adventures in the Netflix series The Chef in a Truck, and this book – part travel journal, part recipe book – recounts his unique culinary journey. It shows readers once again that food is truly a shared international language that builds bridges across cultures.

Please note: If you buy books linked to our site, we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops.

First published on Taste of France Issue Four.

Enjoy Taste of France? Well you’re in luck as Taste of France Issue Five is out of the oven!

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