Crisp fennel, juicy pear, walnuts, feta & fresh mint create the perfect balance of sweet, salty, creamy & crunchy elements in this satisfying winter salad.
Happy New Year!
Do you all make resolutions? In the past I haven’t, but this year, I’m going to give it a go. (And I’m thinking if I write them here, maybe I’ll feel some sense of accountability).
1. Learn Italian. So far, I can read most restaurant menus, I can order gelato… I can ask for directions… but I’d love to be able to have an actual conversation.
2. Send back wedding rsvp cards, and mail out baby gifts on time. I’m the worst… I’m the friend that shows up to your baby shower with a printout from Amazon.com of what I purchased off your registry that morning. But I mean well, really I do.
3. Get some furniture and hang things on my walls. We moved into this new house just about two years ago. If you’ve seen our kitchen, it might appear as if we live in a state of togetherness, but I assure you that every other room has a ways to go. Furniture is hard.
I haven’t made any specific food resolutions… but if eating healthier in the new year is one of yours, this fennel & pear salad is a good tasty place to start. It’s light, yet satisfying, and it packs a nice kick. Sweet pears and paper-thin fennel are tossed in a tangy Dijon vinaigrette. Salty feta adds richness (and just a little bit goes a long way).
Pear & Fennel Salad
- 2 ripe pears, sliced about ⅛ inch thick
- 1 small fennel bulb, sliced paper thin (I use a mandoline)
- Squeeze of lemon
- A handful of arugula or other baby salad greens
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- A few mint leaves
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (to taste)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon honey (optional)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Sea salt & fresh black pepper
- Thinly slice fennel into a small bowl (using a mandoline, ideally). Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil, a small squeeze of lemon, and sprinkle some salt. Toss and set aside. (I find that marinating the fennel like this for a few minutes helps it become more tender).
- Whisk together the dressing components, taste and adjust to your liking. Set aside.
- In a larger bowl, toss together the pears, arugula, fennel, most of the feta, and most of the walnuts. Taste and adjust seasonings again. Assemble on a platter and top with the remaining feta, walnuts, and mint leaves.