This light summer salad with crunchy fennel, shaved asparagus, sweet firm pears, pickled beets and creamy goat cheese is only made more elegant with a slightly effervescent champagne vinaigrette.
I have to admit that I have never tried fennel in my salads until now. I always thought it would be too licoricey, but its so not! Its actually wonderfully crunchy with a light and refreshing licorice touch. Not overpowering at all. Now that I have discovered it, it will be a staple in both mine and Debbie’s salads from now on.
This is totally a sit on the deck on a hot summer night salad. Its so light and refreshing. A bit sweet and tangy, a little creamy and the dressing is so easy but luxurious with a good amount of bubbly. It starts with a bed of romaine, followed by thinly sliced fennel and shaved asparagus. The little heads of the asparagus spears didn’t shave well so we just threw those on top whole. Sliced pears go on next, or you could julienne them or cut them in chunks, whatever your little heart desires, followed by chunks of sweet pickled beets. Just love pickled beets! Finally, sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds, little baby pea shoots, and small crumbles of goat cheese. Summer salad perfection!
The vinaigrette is as easy as throwing all the ingredients EXCEPT the champagne into a jar to shake or a bowl that you can whisk in. When those are all blended, then add the champagne and stir it in. Don’t forget that you can adjust all the flavors in the vinaigrette. If you think its too vinegry, then add a little more champagne or honey or both. Or try a touch more olive oil. Don’t be afraid to play with it.
This is the summer salad to serve when your having a few people over for dinner. Its pretty and elegant enough for a posh dinner party, but easy enough for a casual barbecue. We just love this summer salad, especially with a nice glass of white wine or fruity sangria.
- CHAMPAGNE VINAIGRETTE
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ cup champagne
FOR THE SALAD
- 1 romaine heart, chopped
- half a fennel bulb, sliced thin (save the green fronds to sprinkle on top)
- 5 or 6 asparagus spears, shaved
- 1 pear, halved, core removed and sliced
- 5 or 6 pickled beets, cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or pine nuts
- 1 large handful of pea shoots
- 2 tbsp goat cheese (feta or chevre)
- Make the Vinaigrette. Add all the ingredients, except the champagne, into a shake able container. A small mason jar works well for this. Shake well and then add the champagne and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Make the salad. Arrange the romaine lettuce on the bottom of the serving dish. Next sprinkle the sliced fennel all around followed by the shaved asparagus, the sliced pear, and chopped pickled beets.
- Sprinkle the pea shoots and the sunflower or pumpkin seeds or pine nuts on top of it all.
- Dress the salad directly before you serve it and sprinkle with the goat cheese.