EyeSwoon

the bite: Kevin Masse | Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad

By Natalie Goel

What happens when an NYC-based social media strategist is also an avid home cook? You guessed it — you get a nonstop Instagram stream of delicious-looking dishes set against a swoon-worthy backdrop of the city. Such is the life of Kevin Masse, the culinary force behind Instagram account @kevmasse. In addition to these pursuits, Kevin is also an editor at a favorite food site of ours, crowdsourced recipe network feedfeed. (You might recall our feature on Julie Resnick, a co-founder of the site, a few months back.) Here, the polished cook and social media pro lets us in on his roasted pear and fennel salad recipe, plus his go-to ingredients, kitchen tools and favorite NYC restaurant.

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NAME:  Kevin Masse

PROFESSION: Marketing/Advertising and Social Media Strategy

A LITTLE ABOUT THE RECIPE YOU’RE SHARING WITH US? I always approach spring with a bit of nostalgia, excited about the warm weather but already longing for the next season of roasts and braises. This recipe embraces the transition. The roasting of pears and fennel imbue a deep color and nuttiness, while the tart, mildly sweet dressing rounds the dish with just the right amount of brightness for this time of year.   

COOKING MAKES ME FEEL…whole.

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ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TOOL? My extra large, heavy cutting board

THREE INGREDIENTS YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT? Extra virgin olive oil, salt and harissa

QUIRKY FOOD HABITS? Liking my coffee room temp. (This drives my husband crazy.)

BIGGEST SINGLE INFLUENCE ON YOUR COOKING STYLE? My grandmother, who taught me to always chose the best ingredients you can afford and to let them shine through simple preparation. 

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SOUNDTRACK IN YOUR KITCHEN? Robert Schumann

MIDNIGHT SNACK? Saltines with peanut butter and jelly

BEST SOURCE FOR FOOD AND RECIPE INSPIRATION? The FeedFeed, 101Cookbooks and NY Times Cooking App

I CAN NEVER RESIST…dark chocolate, in any format.

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THE RECIPE OR MEAL YOU ARE KNOWN FOR? My pizza from scratch

MOST SWOON-WORTHY RESTAURANT? Tamarind TriBeCa — amazing Indian food in a stunning setting

THEY SAY YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT — WHAT ARE YOU? Fried chicken

TRIED-AND-TRUE ENTERTAINING TIP? Go with the flow, trust your instincts and have fun. And always make enough to feed half a dozen more people than you expect — parties grow fast.

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Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad with Date Vinaigrette & Hazelnuts

Kevin Masse

  • Ingredients

    • Headnote: This recipe is all about the play on textures – the key is to use pears that are still firm.  Roasting them draws out the sweetness but allows them to stay a bit crisp during the process, developing a deep golden color.  The prosciutto can be omitted to make this meal a vegan first course.

      Serves 4

      • 2 Bulbs Fennel – fronds removed & quartered
      • 2 Pears – Peeled, cored and quartered
      • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 cup olive oil
      • 4-6 slices prosciutto (optional)
      • 1/4 cup hazelnuts

      Vinaigrette

      • 4 Medjool dates, halved and pitted
      • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
      • 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
      • 1/2 cup olive oil
      • 1/4 cup warm water
      • Juice of 1 meyer lemon

  • The Prep

      1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
      2. In a large bowl, toss fennel, pears, thyme and salt – add olive oil, and stir to coat – spread contents onto a rimmed baking sheet.
      3. Roast in oven for 40 minutes, turning pears and fennel every 15 minutes – keep close eye during last 10 minutes.   Remove from oven and let cool to room temp.
      4. Reduce oven to 350
      5. Toast hazelnuts on a lined baking sheet for 10 minutes, or until the skins are papery and lose.  Transfer nuts to a dishtowel, fold towel over the nuts and rub vigorously until the skins come off.  Peeled nuts should be golden in color and not white.
      6. While hazelnuts toast, make the vinaigrette: In a food processor combine dates, mustard and vinegar; process until smooth –  with motor running slowly add olive oil and process until emulsified and thickened – remove lid and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Turn processor back on and add water and lemon juice – transfer to bowl and set aside.

      To Serve: 

      Spread 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup vinaigrette on serving platter and arrange fennel and pears on top – drape with prosciutto if using – top with hazelnuts just prior to serving

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