Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad with Date Vinaigrette & Hazelnuts

Kevin Masse

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  • 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


      • 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