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Food Blog | Summer Greens Salad




January 12, 2014
11:14

by Liz Dellapenna


I thought I would welcome you to the New Year with a light salad to help keep those new year resolutions of weight loss and health! This salad features some classic ingredients along with some unusual combinations, which I think add up to a great dish.

The original recipe called for white wine vinegar, but the first time I made it, I accidentally added white balsamic vinegar instead. The result was delicious and I decided to stick with that. White balsamic vinegar is essentially a more expensive version of balsamic vinegar and is relatively clear in colour. The reason for using it is mainly for colour, because regular balsamic vinegar is such a dark purple/brown. In terms of flavour though, the two are basically the same.

Also, it is worth mentioning that for those who do not like the licquorice flavour of fennel, don’t worry! I am personally not a fan of the taste of raw fennel, but when fennel is soaked in the vinaigrette in this recipe, the intensity of its raw flavour is fairly muted.

This recipe is called the summer greens salad, most likely because arugula grows in the spring and summer. However, all of the ingredients are readily available this time of year, and I figured it would be nice to have a taste of summer in the dead of winter.

Summer Greens Salad

1 fennel bulb
4 tsp apricot jam
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
salt and ground black pepper
150 g arugula
2.4 dl seedless grapes (red or green), halved
1.8 dl crumbled gorgonzola
1.2 dl chopped pecans

 

 

Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise and reserve one of the halves for other use. Trim the stalks from the remaining half bulb, core it, and slice it very thin; set aside. Trim the fennel fronds from the stalks and set them aside and then discard the stalks.

Whisk the apricot jam, white balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, minced shallot, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Toss the fennel slices with the vinaigrette; let them stand for 15 minutes.

Incidentally, fennel bulbs can vary in size more than one might think. Ideally, the vinaigrette should just cover the fennel slices. There may be too much fennel if there is a lot sticking out of the vinaigrette. But even so, the fennel flavour won’t be too overpowering.

After the 15 minutes are up, add the arugula, fennel fronds, and grapes; toss, and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Top with the pecans and gorgonzola and serve.

In my experience, not everyone enjoys the strong flavour of gorgonzola. Depending on your guests, it may be best to serve the gorgonzola on the side in a bowl from which people can serve themselves the amount they deem appropriate.

The recipe serves six appetiser portions or four meal portions.