Warm Mediterranean Salad with Braised Fennel and Pancetta Croutons

This recipe for Warm Mediterranean Salad with Braised Fennel and Pancetta Croutons is the perfect easy dinner party starter.

MasterChef Quick Wins
From the book MasterChef Quick Wins
Serves 4
Easy
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 30 min

Ingredients

1 radicchio
100g (31⁄2oz) watercress
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
12 black olives, pitted and halved
4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 fennel bulbs, finely sliced
12 juniper berries, crushed
125g (41⁄2oz) pancetta, cubed
1 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted and crushed

Essential kit

You will need: a griddle pan.

Instructions

1.Tear the radicchio and watercress leaves into a large salad bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes and olives and then mix the whole lot together with 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

2. Brush or drizzle the remaining olive oil over the fennel slices. Put a non-stick frying pan and a griddle pan on high heat.

3. When the frying pan is hot, add the juniper berries and, a minute or so later, throw in the pancetta cubes and toss them around until golden. There is no need to add any extra oil; the fat from the pork is more than enough. Transfer to kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat. Discard the juniper berries and leave the pancetta croutons to rest.

4. When the griddle is very hot, add the fennel slices. For a warm but crunchy bite, cook each side for about 3 minutes.

5. To serve, make a bed of salad on each plate, then lay the fennel on top and sprinkle over the pancetta croutons and the fennel seeds.

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