Salads don’t have to be loaded with high calorie topping to be tasty. There are so many great healthy toppings that don’t include cheese or bacon (imagine that!). You just need to consider exploring different cooking methods. Like roasting veggies, toasting nuts, adding fruits and making a light dressing.
The longest part of preparing this salad is roasting the fennel. You will need to roast the fennel in advance to allow it to cool before assembling the salad. So, start by cutting the fennel bulb length wise. Don’t cut the end of it off. You want to keep the unique shape of the fennel bulb and have the roasted pieces stay together. Some of the little leaves will fall off, and char when roasting. I personally like the charred leaves.
I prepared two medium size salads with the serving sizes I have listed. If you will be preparing this for more, be sure to multiple the ingredients according to your guest list. You could also make this in a large bowl and make a beautiful display of the topping and serve this to your guests with salad tongs.
If you aren’t familiar with fennel, it has a faint licorice taste too it. It comes usually with a long green stalk, and a large white bulb at the end. Here in Finland they cut the green stalks off, but in the states, I have always seen fennel with the stalks on. You can chop the stalk into pieces and roast it too.
1 grapefruit, peel removed and cut into segments
1 bulb fennel, roasted
Save the leafy top of the fennel bulb to top the salad
1/3c Walnuts, toasted
4T of a good olive oil
1T Balsamic Vinaigrette
A squeeze of your favorite mustard
A few turns of fresh cracked pepper
A little pinch of salt
Cut the fennel bulb in the lengthwise strips about 1/4 of a inch thick. Roast at 375f for 25-35min depending on how charred you want your fennel to be. When it is finished take it out and allow it to cool for about 20min.
Peel the grapefruit and cut it into segments. Toast the walnuts. Chop the leafy top of the fennel bulb.
Whisk all of the ingredients together. I love the flavor of balsamic vinegar, I tend to use a lot of it. If 1T ratio is too much for you, then use less. You want to whisk the ingredients together until you form an emulsion of the oil and vinegar. Basically the molecules of the oil and vinegar need to be broken down so they can come together. So, whisk!
Assemble all ingredients, and drizzle the dressing on top.
If you don’t like the taste of grapefruit you can easily substitute sweet oranges or clementines in this dish.