Monday, December 13, 2010

Roasted Fennel Salad with Asparagus, Carrots and Pear

This is the fanciest salad I've ever made, and probably also the best - it received rave reviews from my Dorothy-Lynch-loving family, including The Boy who likes neither asparagus nor fennel.  So there you go.

Roasted vegetables are awesome.  Fresh fennel bulb is awesome.  Fresh green herbs are awesome.  Salads comprising all of the above are triple-awesome.  I challenge any naysayers to a fight to the death.  I will win, because I'm all hopped up on nutrient-rich vegetables, so I recommend that you just eat the salad and shut up about it.

Roasted Fennel Salad with Asparagus, Carrots and Pear and Basil Vinaigrette

Roasted Vegetables
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced into 1/4"-thick wedges
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off
  • 8 small carrots, sliced lengthwise 1 or 2 times (you want the slices about the same width as the asparagus stalks)
  • 3 firm pears, each cored and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. Toss all ingredients together in a really big bowl until everything is evenly coated.
  3. Spread out over a low-walled baking sheet - unless your sheet is huge, you may need 2.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, until asparagus and carrots are crunchy-tender.
  5. Allow to cool to just warm before topping the salad.

Basil Vinaigrette
  • 1 bunch basil, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 3 T white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a blender or food processor.  Pulse until chopped and combined.
  2. With blade running, stream in olive oil until emulsified.

  • 6 oz flavorful greens, such as mixed herbs, baby greens, arugula
  • fennel-roasted vegetables
  • basil vinaigrette
  • fresh lime wedges
  1. Plate the salad by laying down  a handful of greens, then stack a few asparagus and carrot spears on top.  Top with a few fennel and pear wedges, and drizzle with vinaigrette.
  2. Just before eating, squeeze a fresh lime wedge on top.
Makes about 8 servings, or fewer if your family keeps stealing the roasted vegetables out of the pan before you can plate the salads.  You could also chill the vegetables before serving.

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