Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Patience isn't one of my virtues. . . ET Salad

I am not a terribly patient person and when I cook I tend to just "create"--a little of this, a hint of that . . . and pretty soon I have my finished masterpiece. Which I'm quickly finding makes "food blogging" a bit of a challenge--because I'm told pictures are pretty much vital to food blogging and that means I'll need to slow down and think through steps and take photos of, well, the preparation of food!

So for this next recipe I have about half the photos needed . . . but again not the final product! Darn it! I WILL get the hang of this and then my readers (Hi readers! how fun is that--I started a blog and now have readers!? all 10 of you! love to you!!) will get to see what the food looks like and may even be inspired to COOK--which is at least part of the point of all of this :)

I call this ET Salad--as in Entertaining Salad--as in Salad I Entertain with (not salad that entertains you--well, it WILL entertain your mouth . . but you know what I mean!) Also not to be confused with "ET Phone Home"--I never liked ET as a kid--creeped me out. So why did I name this salad after a creepy SciFi creature? Good question.
I made this salad up out of a few recipes I'd read trying to use fresh fennel because I LOVE fresh fennel! It's bright and fresh tasting; it's crunchy and satisfying; it's smells like Anise (which I don't usually enjoy) but tastes delicious. And I love to USE fresh fennel because it's unexpected and people don't think to use it fresh. And I love to serve this salad because its delicious and has a pretty presentation--which you won't get to see today (next time I make it I WILL post a photo however!).
I recently made this salad on Christmas Day--after the Creme Brulee prep-- for my family. The ET Salad and Creme Brulee were bookends to a delightful meal prepped by my Mom--who is an AMAZING COOK!--and who DOES keeps a VERY tidy kitchen (unlike me). We had Prime Rib, loaded mashed potatoes, and fresh multigrain rolls .. . YUM! Anywho, I did start to take photos of the salad prep and then forgot to snap a few of the final product--thank you in advance for your patience!

Okay, the recipe already! (I can tell editing down my bunny-trail type thoughts will be my biggest blogging challenge . . . ahem!)

ET Salad: (please adjust amounts based on how many you're feeding--we were feeding 8 salad plate portions for this recipe--though add grilled chicken and this could easily become a meal itself!)

1 large or 2 small bulbs of fresh Fennel--core and then slice or jullienne bulb only
2 Granny Smith Apples--cored and sliced (no need to peel unless you don't like the peel)
2 Nectarines or Pears--I prefer the Nectarines if you can find them; pears will substitute--also cored and sliced and not peeled
1 Red onion
1 bottle of Marzetti's Spinach Dressing (found in your grocer's produce area)
Real Bacon Bits (rendered yourself or purchased)
Honey Roasted Almond Slices
1 Bag fresh Baby Spinach

1 large Ziplock Bag
Knife of choice--I tend to use my small chef's knife for everything
Cutting Board
Large Platter

Coring the Fennel bulb--first cut off the frond stalks--some people dry and use the fennel fronds for seasoning and I imagine you could use them for soup stock--but that's all a bit too much work for me, so I usually just toss them (but feel free to post your uses for them if you have them!)

Then cut the bulb in half (lengthwise) and take your knife and cut out the core on both sides--it'll be kind of a triangle shape.

core and slice Fennel, Apple, Nectarine, and Red Onion into large bite sized pieces--try to keep all the pieces about the same size. Toss them all into a large ziplock bag.

and add the entire bottle of Marzetti's Spinach Dressing. Now, you could make your own bacon dressing--go for it and send me the recipe!--but I usually spend alot more time on the main dishes of the meal and take help with the salad and this is exceptionally delicious dressing!

Let the veg/fruit combo marinate for 1-3 hours in the fridge (up to overnight). To plate, spread the baby spinach in an even layer on a pretty platter and then using tongs or a slotted spoon, place the marinated mixture on top of the greens. Top with real bacon bits and toasted almond slices and make sure to use tongs to serve. It's delicious! And a great conversation starter . . .



  1. My blog isn't focused on cooking, but I do post when I try a new recipe or make something fun. I only remember pictures about half the time...still :) Thank you for sharing your food inspiration with us!

  2. It does sound super yum and so does the loaded mashed potatoes, the prime rib, and the rolls..

    I wish I liked to cook..I just like the eating part..

    Thanks for being my newest follower..:-)

  3. I'm working on cooking a lot more. But hey, i'm in college, so what can ya expect! haha. Thats looks delicious and easy! Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Yummo!! You can have me over for dinner anytime and I would love to try it ;)