Blackberry and Roasted Fennel Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing
Happy New Year! I’m back to “work” after taking a short holiday reprieve. It wasn’t planned – in fact, I had a few recipes up my sleeve for Christmas – but once my family arrived it was just so nice to kick back and not think about anything but presents and what we’re going to eat next. And like always, we overate and overindulged – heavenly!
For Christmas dinner I made this Roasted Double Rack of Pork with Morel Mushroom Pan Sauce. It was very easy make and was a big hit. The pork isn’t too expensive compared to other cuts which balanced out the hefty price tag of the morels. Probably not something I’d make every day but a nice holiday or dinner party choice.
After all that indulgence, it’s time to get back into some healthier eating! I’m really into all things blackberry right now (they’re on sale everywhere – at least in my area – so I’ve been stocking up). I love combining the sweet, tart blackberry with more savory flavors; they’re a great pairing to pork and are delicious on a cheese plate. I’ve also been adding them to granola and yogurt in the morning for a healthy blackberry breakfast!
This blackberry salad packs a lot of flavor and is a fabulous way to eat healthier. If you haven’t tried fennel before this is a great introduction. Roasting it brings out a sweetness and mellows it a bit, making it a nice contrast to the blackberry. I like to roast the fennel and make the dressing in advance, then all I have to to is assemble it and mix in the blackberry and blue cheese. This is one of those salads has all the components I love: it’s healthy yet filling, yet it’s gourmet enough that I feel like I’m spoiling myself.
Wishing everyone their best year yet for 2012! Cheers!
Roasted Fennel Salad with Blackberries
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
- 3 bulbs fennel
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pkg. blackberries (about a cup and a half; I like to use Driscoll’s)
- 2 oz. blue cheese or gorgonzola crumbles (or more if you love blue cheese like me!)
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat Oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet. Quarter each fennel bulb, then cut lengthwise into ¼ to ½ inch-thick slices, keeping the slices as intact as possible. Arrange fennel on baking sheet, overlapping as needed. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Roast, without turning fennel over, until lightly browned around the edges and just tender (about 20 minutes). Let cool. (You can make the fennel up to one day ahead; bring to room temp before proceeding).
Whisk together vinegar, honey and chopped rosemary. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add cooled fennel to bowl with dressing and toss gently. Gently fold in blackberries. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
Divide salad among 6 plates. Top each with equal amounts blue cheese and garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.
Serve at room temperature.