Heirloom Tomato Salad with Shaved Fennel and Gorgonzola

This sophisticated appetizer salad will surely impress your guests at your next dinner party.  The ingredients are rather simple, but the presentation is the showstopper…it’s something about the little curls of fennel that does it for me.  Any variation of yummy tomatoes in August or September is really a showstopper to begin with, honestly.  But in this salad, the flavors really harmonize with the peppery flavor of the arugula next to the assertive Gorgonzola cheese, sweetness of red onion and the acidity of the tomato.  Mum and I found ourselves taking bites as we were plating up the portions, no surprise there!

doesn't it look delicious?!

You will need:
1 small head fennel, trimmed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon aged red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
3 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes of varying size and color
coarse salt & pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 glove garlic, peeled, mashed to a paste and sprinkled with coarse salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 pound haricots verts, trimmed (fancy name for those skinny string beans)
2 tablespoons finely minced chives
2 cups loosely packed baby or regular arugula
5 1/2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Slice the fennel into 1/8 inch thick slices (good time to use a mandoline) and immediately put into a bowl of ice water.  Refrigerate for about 1 hour, until crisped and curled.  Drain just before using.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegars.  Cut the tomatoes into wedges, slices or halves, depending on the size and shape of the tomato.  Put the tomatoes in a bowl and season them with salt and pepper.  Add the onion, garlic and thyme, and spoon the vinaigrette over the tomatoes, whisking the dressing as you pour it.  Set the bowl aside to let the tomatoes marinate for about 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan of lightly salted boiling water set over high heat, blanch the haricots verts for 4 to 5 minutes, or until bright green.  Drain and immediately plunge them in ice water to set the color.  Drain again and set aside.

Add the chives to the tomatoes and toss gently.  Lift the tomatoes and onions from the bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving the vinaigrette left in the bowl.  Stack the tomatoes and onions in the centers of 6 salad plates or on a serving platter.  Carefully arrange the haricots verts and fennel curls on top of the tomatoes, garnish with a bouquet of arugula, and scatter with the Gorgonzola.  Spoon the remaining vinaigrette over the salad and serve immediately.

Serves: 6
Time: about 40 minutes (plus 1 hour of soaking the fennel)
From: Alfred Portale’s 12 Seasons Cookbook 

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  1. Posted September 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Oh this just looks beyond delicious!! I love fennel! YUM!! Recently found your blog and I’m a new follower…love it!!! I’ve got a delicious recipe for shrimp gazpacho and a jewelry giveaway going on! 😉

    Recipes Fashion Marriage

  2. Posted March 20, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I constantly spent my half an hour to read this blog’s posts everyday along with a mug of coffee.

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