Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Pear and Fennel Salad
Whenever I’m at the market and I spot Fennel, I usually put in in my cart without a thought as to what I’m going to do with it. I like the IDEA of cooking with fennel but really don’t know too many recipes that call for it. When eaten raw, it has a strong licorice flavor so I prefer cooking it. I scoured the web for a salad recipe with Fennel and Pears and found this one. **After I removed the walnuts from the oil, I added a bit of brown sugar and chili powder to the walnuts for a little kick.
Roast Pear and Fennel Salad
The Washington Post, November 17, 2004
Roasting pear and fennel simultaneously concentrates and mellows their flavor. Use only perfectly ripe pears; the heat of the oven may soften underripe fruit but it cannot conjure sweetness. Since I was cooking for only two of us, I just used 1 fennel and 1 pear.
6 to 8 servings
For the salad
2 ripe Bosc pears
2 medium bulbs fennel (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the vinaigrette
1/2 cup (2 ounces) walnut halves or chopped walnuts
8 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, preferably aged
1 to 2 tablespoon maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Adjust 2 oven racks to the middle and lower-third positions. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.
Quarter the unpeeled pears lengthwise, remove and discard the cores and then, using a sharp knife or a mandoline, carve each quarter into slices about 1/4 inch thick.
Trim the stems from the fennel, cut out the cores and remove the tough outer layers. Slice the fennel lengthwise into thin, sickle-shaped slices or crosswise into round slices between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.
Place the pear slices on 1 sheet, drizzle with about 1/2 tablespoon oil, season lightly with salt and toss or turn to coat. Place the fennel on 1 sheet, drizzle with about 1/2 tablespoon oil, season lightly with salt and toss or turn to coat.
Roast the pear and fennel, turning the slices once, until they turn splotchy golden brown at the edges and across some of the surface, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness. The fennel will probably be done before the pear. Watch carefully; the slices go from golden to burnt in a matter of minutes. Set aside to cool slightly or to room temperature.
For the vinaigrette: While the pears and fennel are roasting, in a skillet over medium heat, heat the walnuts and oil, shaking the skillet occasionally, just until warmed, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the walnuts to a plate; reserve the oil. If desired, chop the walnuts. Set the walnuts and oil aside to cool.
Strain the cooled oil into a bowl. Add the vinegar and syrup to taste. If desired, season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble, divide the pears and fennel among individual plates, alternating slices. (You may not care to use all of the fennel.) Scatter some walnuts over the slices and drizzle with the vinaigrette.