Mary Berry's Fennel and Watermelon Salad with Goat's Cheese Bruschetta

This bright, fresh-tasting salad, as seen on the BBC2 series Mary Berry Everyday, is packed with juicy watermelon and fragrant fennel. Serve it with tomato and cheese-topped bruschetta for a vibrant summer lunch.

From the book

Mary Berry Everyday by
Mary Berry Everyday
120 simple yet delicious recipes for everyday cooking
All the recipes from the BBC TV series
Classic favourites the whole family will enjoy

Introduction

A hearty mixed salad with tasty tomato and cheese-topped bruschetta, this is a complete meal in itself. Perfect for a summer lunch or picnic or as part of a spread for a party

Serves 6
Cook time: 20 min

Ingredients

For the dressing:
90ml (3fl oz) good olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
juice and zest of ½ lemon
2 tsp runny honey
½ garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and bulb finely chopped
For the bruschetta:
1 ciabatta loaf
3–4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
6 large ripe tomatoes, deseeded (see tip) and diced
1 heaped tbsp chopped thyme leaves
300g (11oz) soft goat’s cheese, cut into thin slices
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
2 Little Gem lettuces, leaves sliced widthways into three
1 x 60g bag of lamb’s lettuce
1 x 180g bag of lentil sprout mix
1 cucumber, peeled, halved, deseeded and sliced on the diagonal
flesh of ¼ watermelon, deseeded and sliced into small pieces
1 bunch of spring onions, sliced

Instructions

1. Place all the dressing ingredients except the chopped fennel into a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the fennel, mixing it in well with the dressing to prevent it from discolouring, and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas 7 or the grill to hot.

3. Next prepare the bruschetta. Cut the ciabatta into 12 slices on the diagonal. Mix the olive oil and garlic together in a small bowl. Brush both sides of the bread with the oil and garlic mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn the bread over and toast the other side for a further 4–5 minutes. Alternatively, toast under the grill.

4. Mix the diced tomatoes and thyme together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper (see tip). Spoon the mixture on top of the toasted pieces of bread. Arrange three slices of goat’s cheese on top of each piece of bread and place on a baking sheet.

5. Bake the bruschetta for about 8 minutes in the hot oven, or brown under the grill, until crisp and lightly golden on top.

6. Meanwhile, mix the salad ingredients together in a large bowl or wide platter to show off the contrasting colours. Pour over the fennel and garlic dressing and toss together. Serve the salad with two bruschetta per person.

PREPARE AHEAD: Can be assembled up to 4 hours ahead and cooked in the oven or under the grill to serve. Or serve cold.

Assemble the salad up to 6 hours ahead; dress just before serving. The dressing can be made up to 2 days ahead.

MARY’S EVERYDAY TIPS: Gone are the days when all watermelon were the size of your head. You can now buy mini watermelons perfect for this. Use half a small one for this recipe or a quarter of a large one.

If you have time, leave the tomatoes out at room temperature for 30 minutes once they are mixed with the thyme and seasoning – this will really enhance their flavour.

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