I’m ready to say goodbye to soup, stews and roasted vegetables. Now that the days are getting longer and warmer, I’ve been craving refreshing salads.
But I find it a challenge to shop this time of year. Our bodies are asking for new revitalizing foods, but summer’s alluring produce still seems far off. Don’t be tempted to buy artificially ripened tomatoes or strawberries from far-off places, instead embrace salads that celebrate winter vegetables.
I’ve made this fennel and pear salad for just about every get-together I’ve been to in the last month. It’s rare that a salad gets the limelight at a dinner party but this simple, yet sophisticated, salad always does just that.
I recommend making a large batch of the red wine vinaigrette to have on hand all week (this recipe makes enough for 2-3 family size salads). It pairs perfectly with any type of salad and stores well in the fridge. If you prefer, you can cut the vinaigrette recipe below in half and that will be plenty for this dish.
I hope you enjoy, and let me know if this becomes your new favorite end-of-winter salad!
Fennel and Pear Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, cored
- 1 Anjou pear (or other firm variety), halved, cored
- 2 celery stalks, trimmed
- 1/2 cup ricotta salata (or parmesan or feta), crumbled
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (high quality)
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 T stone ground mustard
- 1 T Dijon mustard
Put all the dressing ingredients in a glass mason jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside.
Thinly slice the fennel, pear and celery (a mandoline works best for this) and place in a large salad bowl. Add the walnuts, ricotta salata and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss with 1/4 to 1/2 of the dressing above. Taste and add more dressing if needed.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Elyse Kopecky is a social media and digital technology consultant based in Portland, OR. After 10 years working for NIKE and EA SPORTS in Portland, Amsterdam and Geneva she briefly left her desk job for the chance to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at freshabits.com and @freshabits.