Caramelized Fennel and Pancetta Salad

Roasting and caramelizing the fennel and pancetta with brown sugar, served warm over lightly dressed greens make the for perfect winter salad!

I hadn’t intended to blog this salad when I made it for a luncheon. Sometimes my posts are inspired by a story, a travel experience, or a frame of mind. This post is solely inspired by how pretty this salad is-t’s simple elegance.

As I put this salad together before my guests arrived, I saw the colors, the way the light hit the pancetta, the way the fennel caramelized and I knew my camera needed to find it’s way in front of this salad and me to my happy place.

And the taste is equally matched by it’s appearance. The flavors are complex but simple. The fennel when roasted becomes slightly sweet, it’s anise flavor mellowing. The pancetta gives a salty bite, even when combined with brown sugar. Then the dressing gives a punch of acidity to gently balance everything.

This salad is truly inspired and a perfect salad for cold weather and impressing guests.

Caramelized Fennel and Pancetta Salad Recipe

Serves 4-6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Appetizer, Condiment, Lunch, Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Gourmet, Pre-preparable
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Thanksgiving, Valentines day

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 bulb Fennel (halved and sliced into wedges)
  • 6 medium slices Pancetta
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • pinch Salt
  • pinch Black Pepper
  • 6-7 cups Mixed Salad Greens

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Honey
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • pinch Salt
  • pinch Pepper

Caramelized Fennel and Pancetta Salad

Directions

Red Wine Vinaigrette
Step 1
Combine Red Wine Vinaigrette ingredients and set aside or refrigerate for up to three days.
Roast Fennel and Pancetta
Step 2
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine fennel, pancetta, garlic, brown sugar, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Make sure fennel and pancetta are evenly coated with the brown sugar and oil.
Step 3
Roast the fennel mixture for 20 minutes, or until the fennel is soft and slightly browned and the pancetta is slightly crispy.
Salad
Step 4
To assemble salad: Pour a few tablespoons of the dressing in the bottom of a serving bowl. Add the greens and toss. Top with warm fennel and pancetta. Serve additional dressing on the side.