6.01.2009

Sugar-Crusted Fennel & Pear Salad

Sugar-Crusted Fennel & Pear Salad

Did You Know? Today, pears are available in grocery stores 10 months out of the year, but they weren’t always so easy to find. In the 1800s people were willing to pay over $20 for just one pear because they were so rare and delicious.

After a few dozen cupcakes and muffins, I think I'm due for some fresh fruits and vegetables here on Buff Chick. We had my Grandparents and Uncle over yesterday afternoon for a late lunch, and while my Mom simmered away the entree, I worked on a side salad for her. I love introducing new foods to my relatives, and salads are a great way to combine a ton of unique flavors into one satisfying dish. I'm always surprised at the flavor combinations that work in salads. You can basically throw in anything and know it's going to taste good. And no matter what kind of greens I go with, I always add in some type of fruit.



Sugar-Crusted Fennel & Pear Salad

Sugar-Crusted Fennel & Pear Salad

My sister first introduced me to this mix after watching Giada toss it together a few weeks ago. She's made it on many occasions, but each time, we had finished the bowl before I had the chance to photograph any of the remains. Giada used pancetta as the protein, but being vegetarians, we opted for toasted pecans and some feta cheese. And sticking with my 'always throw in fruit' rule, I added some diced anjou pear. This mix has quickly become my go-to salad these days, and even my standard iceberg-and-tomato grandfather went for seconds on this one.

Sugar-Crusted Fennel & Pear Salad

Sugar-Crusted Fennel & Pear Salad
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

1 bulb fennel, halved, cored, and sliced; Reserve about a tablespoon of chopped fronds for garnish, if desired
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pecans, toasted
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons feta
1 pear, cored and diced
10 ounces mixed salad greens
Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, toss together fennel, onion, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the ingredients on the baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until the fennel is caramelized, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, place the salad greens, caramelized fennel and onion, pecans, pear, and 1/4 cup of feta. Toss the salad with the Red Wine Vinaigrette and garnish with the additional couple tablespoons of feta and the fennel fronds. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Red Wine Vinaigrette

2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.


24 comments:

  1. I am loving this salad. Nicely done.

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  2. I really enjoy fennel, but often run out of ways to use it. This looks delicious and perfect for summer!

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  3. Wonderful use of ingredients here!

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  4. I make a similar salad...and sandwich...but without the fennel, which is a truly brilliant idea. Next time...

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  5. Your salad looks delicious, I just ate and I am getting hungry just looking at it.

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  6. Wow, this looks SO good! I definitely need to try it. I've never had fennel in a salad like this, but it looks AMAZING! :)

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  7. i'm normally not a pear person, but this sounds great

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  8. Very genius! The sweet licorice flavor of the fennel had to have been great.

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  9. Beautiful salad!
    $20 for a pear...wow! Even though I like buying things in season, it is nice to have cheap access to things year round.

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  10. I'm addicted to fennel but coat it with sugar and I'm afraid it will turn into an obsession.

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  11. I love a good salad, especially during summer! This recipe looks really unique and delicious!

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  12. What a fabulous-looking salad! I love the pear in there, too. I can't believe pears used to be so rare; I'm so glad that they're not rare anymore! Delish!

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  13. What wonderful pics! This looks delicious!

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  14. I have the same rule!!!!!!!!! for me a salad isn't complete without: fruit, nuts and cheese. It just isdn't a salad without those things, just a sad, ill-balanced, poser! Hahaha this creation look delicious and I love that you kept your relatives in mind and tried to introduce them to new flavours. Nothing better than having them forever remember the first time they ate something, because you presented it to them!

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  15. Now that's one loaded salad! Sounds like such a satisfying combination of flavors and textures... I would just use tofu "feta" instead. :)

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  16. Love fruit in salad...specially pears...they give such an special flavor to the green salad. Nice pictures!

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  17. $20 per pear? Are you sure they weren't just shopping in NYC? ;o)

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  18. I truly think you covered every flavor-taste in this one salad. I mean seriously I would devour this; it has all the flavors that pair so well together.

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  19. Gorgeous salad! I love the introduction of the fennel--very inspired. The pears are a nice touch, too. I always love fruit in my salad.

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  20. Your salad sounds fantastic with the fennel! I love pears in salads, so this is a perfect combination for me.

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  21. Hey!!! Everything on your page looks AWESOME and I just used a picture of your barley soup as an example in one of my posts. We're both foodie college students as well. Be our friend!

    -PERPETUAL HUNGER!

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  22. Pears are my favourite fruit of all time, I could live without all the other fruits just to enjoy their succulence. This is a nice looking salad and I completely agree with you about how salads are a great way to layer in some different and interesting flavours together

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  23. this was absolutely delicious, loved it!

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