Fennel has a very distinctive aniseed flavour. It’s pretty overwhelming when it’s raw so if you don’t like it, you don’t like it. Roast it however, and it’s a whole different ball game. It becomes sweet, soft and delicious, the perfect complimeent to a cold, crisp, juicy pear.
I had the funniest conversation at work the other day with two of my colleagues, one Swiss and one American. We found an article on BuzzFeed, listing all the foods that American’s miss when living in Europe, and one of them was good salads. Being European, we were all like “What’s wrong with our salads?!” and we were swiftly told that a small plate of greens with maybe some tomatoes and a choice of “Italian or French” dressing, is not a sufficient salad situation. Point taken.
I kind of get it. I mean, I’m not the biggest lettuce fan. I like it a lot, but on its own it’s just a bit drab. This salad is a game changer. It’s all about the toppings and it’s certainly piled high. With the lemon and olive oil dressing, not one piece is left bland, every single crevice is packed with flavour. I’m a huge fan of warm things on a salad, they make it feel like a proper meal, you know? Fennel when roasted is soft, sweet and sultry. It needs something to lift it, and the citrusy dressing and crispy pear do the perfect job. I specifically used Forelle pears in this recipe for the reason that they are so crunchy. They aren’t the typical green soft pears you get. They have a beautiful blush to their skin and stay firm.
Does this salad have enough toppings to live up to your salad expectations? Salad should be fun, and I think this does the job. My perfect salad has a variety of greens, an in-your-face flavour dressing, something cold and crispy, something warm and sweet.
What do you think are the elements needed for a perfect salad?
Roasted Fennel and Pear Salad
1 Bulb Fennel
1 Forelle Pear
Handful of Spinach
Handful of Watercress
3 Walnuts finely chopped
3-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Juice of Half a Lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the fennel into 1/4 inch thick slices and coat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes until golden and caremelised.
2. While the fennel is cooking, make the salad dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until everything is well combined. Toss the spinach and watercress in the dressing so it is fully coated and place on a plate.
3. Chop the pear into slices and arrange on top of the salad. Add the warm roasted fennel, crumble some walnuts and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.