A Simple, yet Sophisticated First Course

I love to start a diner party with a first course already set at each place when my guests come to the table. Of course, it has to be something easy to make, since there’s the rest of the meal to tend to.

This fennel salad is a lovely starter for a romantic dinner for two; you can double or triple the recipe for a larger group.

If you don’t have a mandoline to slice the fennel bulb, try using a sharp potato peeler or a sharp knife to create thin, almost-transparent ribbons.

Check out the demo video here.

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Arugula, Fennel and Raisin Salad with Warm Goat Cheese
Makes 2 servings

4 teaspoons fresh squeezed orange juice
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional olive oil for brushing
Salt and Pepper
1/2 small fennel bulb
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
3 tablespoons finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
2 fresh goat cheese rounds (1/2-inch thick)
2 cups arugula (about 1 ounce)
3 tablespoons California raisins, soaked in warm water and drained

Prepare a vinaigrette by whisking orange and lemon juices together with ¼ cup olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice fennel as thinly as possible with a sharp knife, a sharp potato peeler or a mandoline. Set aside in bowl of ice water to crisp.

Mix bread crumbs with toasted hazelnuts in shallow bowl. Brush goat cheese rounds lightly with olive oil and dredge in bread crumb-hazelnut mixture. Arrange on lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 6 to 8 minutes, until golden.

Meanwhile, mix arugula, drained fennel and raisins together in a non-reactive bowl and toss with just enough vinaigrette to coat. Arrange a small handful on each individual salad plate and arrange a goat cheese round on top. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Note: to skin and toast hazelnuts, watch this demo.

Recipe adapted from California Raisins.

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Posted: Apr 5th by Sandy_Hu