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Fennel, hazelnut and pear salad

Fennel, hazelnut and pear salad

Serve this in a large bowl or better, on separate plates; a generous pool of the smooth, glossy dressing at the base and the crisp salad served on top, with a squeeze of lemon to keep it fresh. That way friends can toss it themselves and scoop the remaining dressing up with a hunk of bread. Blue cheese is a great addition if you want to bulk it out. Or serve it alongside a roast chicken. You really only need 4 tablespoons of the dressing for this salad but add more if you like it. Treat the rest of the dressing as a vinegar mother; keep it in the fridge in a jam jar and top up every time you need it.


1 fennel, very finely sliced, fronds reserved
1 chicory
2 large medium-ripe pears
30g / 1 oz hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped
leaves from 2 sprigs thyme

For the dressing
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp buttermilk, or natural yogurt
7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

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  • Slice across the chicory into long strips and drop into a bowl of iced water with the sliced fennel. Squeeze in a little of the lemon juice.
  • Make the dressing in the serving bowl by whisking the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, salt, pepper and olive oil together until smooth. Spoon half of it in a jar for another time.
  • When ready to serve, add the chicory and fennel to the dressing bowl but do not mix. Peel and slice the pears lengthways, removing the core then add to the salad with the chopped toasted hazelnuts. Scatter over the thyme leaves and any fennel fronds and take it to the table to dress.
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