Baby Kale and Roasted Fennel Salad with Sourdough Mustard Croutons

If I could choose one weekday dinner to have every night of the week, it would huge salad with a bunch of munchies in it. Not bragging (wink) but when salads are this good, salad addictions are a real thing.

Baby kale, drizzled with a sherry wine vinaigrette and tossed with smoky Applewood bacon and paper-thin slices of red onion, is the base. Caramelized sweet roasted fennel wedges create the perfect contrast to the saltiness of the bacon and the bite of the sherry wine vinegar and red onion. Warm, homemade sourdough croutons are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, tossed in grainy mustard and extra virgin olive oil. With a sunny-side up egg, you’ll have made the ultimate dinner salad that won’t last on your plate for more than a few minutes. I’m drooling.

 

 

 

Makes: 2 large dinner salads

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total time: 1 hour and 5 minutes

The Ingredients

1 package baby kale

1 package Applewood smoked bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces

½ red onion, cut into paper-thin slices

4 medium fennel bulbs

1 sourdough bread boule (with a super soft center!)

2 heaping tablespoons grainy mustard

2 eggs

~2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar

~3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

 

 

The Steps

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

For bacon: In a medium pot, add bacon and sauté over medium heat until browned and slightly crispy. In a paper towel lined bowl, use a slotted spoon to scoop bacon into lined bowl to separate fat from bacon. Save the bacon drippings (the brown crumbles in the bottom of the pan) for the dressing. Skip this step if you’re looking for a healthier option.

For fennel: Place fennel bulbs that are cut into 4-6 wedges each bulb on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle and lightly toss in olive oil and salt until just coated Place in oven for 25-30 minutes, until fennel just begins to brown and is fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

For dressing: In a medium bowl, add sherry wine vinegar, about 1/2 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together and try for tartness. Dressing should have some acidity to cut through the rich flavors of the salad! Set aside.

For croutons: On another cookie sheet lined with foil, cut boule in half and use hands to rip 1 inch chunks of bread. Pieces should look rustic and imperfect! Place bread chunks into a bowl with grainy mustard and about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Toss well and make sure the bread is thoroughly coated with mustard and olive oil. If there is not enough of either, add more!

Place bread chunks on the lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes (tossing half way through) until bread is golden brown and crispy on the outside. Remove from oven.

For plating: In a large bowl, add kale, red onion, dressing, and bacon to taste. Toss well. Plate greens. Add croutons to the top of salad, and place fennel wedges around the outside of the plate.

For eggs: Lastly, in a nonstick skillet add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Crack eggs a few inches apart and cook on medium/low heat to desired doneness. Cook for 2-4 minutes and remove from heat. Place 1 egg on top of each salad. Garnish with a little salt and freshly cracked pepper.

The absolute perfect dinner salad is served!

 

 

 

The Steps with Pictures

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

For bacon: In a medium pot, add bacon and sauté over medium heat until browned and slightly crispy. In a paper towel lined bowl, use a slotted spoon to scoop bacon into lined bowl to separate fat from bacon. Save the bacon drippings (the brown crumbles in the bottom of the pan) for the dressing. Skip this step if you’re looking for a healthier option.

For fennel: Place fennel bulbs that are cut into 4-6 wedges each bulb on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle and lightly toss in olive oil and salt until just coated Place in oven for 25-30 minutes, until fennel just begins to brown and is fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

For dressing: In a medium bowl, add sherry wine vinegar, about 1/2 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together and try for tartness. Dressing should have some acidity to cut through the rich flavors of the salad! Set aside.

For croutons: On another cookie sheet lined with foil, cut boule in half and use hands to rip 1 inch chunks of bread. Pieces should look rustic and imperfect! Place bread chunks into a bowl with grainy mustard and about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Toss well and make sure the bread is thoroughly coated with mustard and olive oil. If there is not enough of either, add more!

Place bread chunks on the lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes (tossing half way through) until bread is golden brown and crispy on the outside. Remove from oven.

For eggs: Lastly, in a nonstick skillet add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Crack eggs a few inches apart and cook on medium/low heat to desired doneness. Cook for 2-4 minutes and remove from heat. Place 1 egg on top of each salad. Garnish with a little salt and freshly cracked pepper.

The absolute perfect dinner salad is served!

 

 

 

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