Thursday, March 5, 2009

Warm Roasted Fennel Salad with Boucheron Goat Cheese

Roasted Fennel is just one of my favorite things. I love it raw too, but when it's roasted it gets soft and sweet and almost smells like a Snicker Doodle. 

I also love Boucherondin (Boucheron) cheese. It's a goat's milk cheese that comes from France's Loire Valley - it comes in a white log and has a mild and dry-crumbly center that somewhat resembles your basic Chevre, and it just melts on the tongue. The part near the rind is creamy and has it's own unique flavor different from the center and it tastes a little like a firm Brie. Absolutely WONDERFUL. You can find it at Whole Foods in the glass case, and it is about $15/lb.  I snack on it as-is, but it's also great with fresh, hot French bread. 

If you haven't roasted fennel before, it's so easy. Clean the Fennel bulbs and cut off the green tops and the bottom core. Keep some of the fluffy fennel fronds for later. I like to slice mine about 1/4 inch thick. Put them on a cookie sheet on parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. 

Next, I like to add a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese. It really goes perfect with the fennel and brings out so many flavors - it gets nutty when toasted, and it adds just the right amount of salt.

45 minutes in a 350 oven and this is what they look like when done. Soft and slightly brown on the edges. The Parmesan is golden brown and your house smells amazing. 

Let them cool for about 20 minutes, then toss with some of the fennel chopped up fronds and crumble some of the Boucheron cheese on top. You could also crumble regular Chevre (goat cheese) on top also and it would taste pretty similar. Goat cheese goes so well with this type of dish because it really compliments sweet foods. The fennel will be lightly sweet, but the parmesan is salty and balances it very well. 

This salad is so simple, but absolutely decadent!