The combination of salty bresaola, anise-like fennel and orange citrus sweetness, makes this salad a crowd pleaser. This Charred Fennel Salad with the stunning look of the burrata will definitely get the oohs and ahhs from your guests!
What Is Bresaola?
Growing up, I didn’t eat much cured meats as it was not common in Asian cooking. Good ol’ shoulder ham was all we used in our boring school lunches. But now as an adult, I am always standing at the deli counter staring at the delicious cured meats, preserved fruits and cheeses.
Constantly thinking about what pairings might work, what I can eat tonight, what I can use for entertaining. If I had a choice, I would definitely have it all. I am especially attracted to the deep, dark red hues of bresaola in the deli cabinet.
It is often overlooked when compared to prosciutto but there are many easy bresaola recipes you can make. It is the perfect cured meat to use if you have any friends who don’t eat pork. The delicious flavour is a cross between a lean prosciutto and pastrami.
What is bresaola, you ask? It is made with eye round of beef, trimmed of outer fat then salted and spiced before left to air dry for 3-4 months. The spice mix often used include juniper berries, bay leaves, garlic, thyme, rosemary and olive oil.
However it does vary between producers and many traditional Italian families will safeguard their own secret recipe. The aging process adds depth but retains a delicate aromatic flavour.
This cured meat is firmer and leaner than prosciutto therefore it is so good to eat thinly sliced. There is no need to cook bresaola. And because it is less fatty, best to eat it soon after sliced because it can dry out more quickly.
I love including bresaola on an antipasto platter, layering it in salads or scattered on pizza. Another super easy bresaola recipe is bresaola carpaccio – layer the cured meat on a plate, then drizzle with good olive oil, ground pepper, a squeeze of lemon and shaved parmesan. Add a glass of your favourite wine and crusty bread. Can’t go wrong, seriously.
What Flavours Goes Well with Fennel?
Fennel is a perennial herb that can be eaten raw or cooked. It has quite a distinct flavour when eaten raw versus cooked. Raw fennel has a crunchy bite with a unique anise flavour. When you cook it, the flesh softens and the licorice flavour mellows into the background with a sweet taste. I am a fan of both ways. I often have to stop myself from eating it all before serving!
A quick shaved raw fennel and orange salad with citrus dressing is a popular recipe to start with. Other than citrus, fennel also goes well with apple. You can try fennel and apple roasted with pork or pan-fried with white fish and grilled lemon. Fennel is great in soups as well. A bowl of creamy bacon, potatoes, leeks and fennel soup will go down a treat in winter.
Fennel also goes really well with prawns and with some tart yuzu, this Prawn and Fennel Salad with Yuzu Jam Dressing is delicious.
What is Burrata?
Made from cow’s milk, burrata takes mozzarella further with an extra step. It is made from solid mozzarella as a pouch with a creamy and stringy stracciatella inside. Often known as a money bag due to the shape, burrata oozes creaminess.
Similar taste to mozzarella but creamier and richer. Love adding burrata over salads especially with tomatoes such as our Medley of Tomato and Burrata Salad or simply with olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled on top, scattered basil leaves and warm crusty bread. Yum.
Why I Love Charred Fennel Salad with Bresaola
As much as I love eating bresaola as is, I love creating bresaola recipes to share with friends. Starting with thinly sliced bresaola as a base, I wanted to add a balance of flavours and textures to create a delicious salad.
Fennel has an aromatic anise-like flavour which pairs especially well with citrus. Both these ingredients will offset the bresaola salty flavours. Finally the creamy texture of burrata ties the salad all together.
This salad is not tricky to make at all and is great for entertaining with friends as an appetizer. Taking the popular fennel and orange salad to the next level. You can grill the fennel and segment oranges earlier in the day and then assemble the salad when the party starts. The contrasting colours of bresaola, fennel and orange makes this salad a stand out.
How to Make Charred Fennel Salad with Bresaola
Grill the Fennel
Trim the top of the fennel, removing stalks and fronds, leaving the bulb and core intact. Retain some fennel fronds to sprinkle on top at serving.
Stand the fennel bulb up on its base and slice the fennel bulb from top to bottom, approx 0.5cm thick.
Heat up griddle pan to medium/hot heat. Brush both sides of fennel with olive oil. Grill fennel for approx 2-3 minutes each side or until lightly charred. The fennel slices should be tender to touch. Remove from grill and place on kitchen paper towel ready to assemble.
For this recipe, I decided to cut the oranges in segments. It was definitely a fiddly process for me! But the end result looks pretty cool. However you could also present them in wheels too.
Using a sharp paring knife, slice the top and bottom of the orange to expose the flesh a little. Place the orange cut side down. Slicing as close to the orange flesh as possible, cut along the curve of the fruit to remove a section of peel, exposing the fruit underneath.
Continue cutting the orange until all peel is removed. Then trim off any remaining orange pith clinging on to the flesh.
Holding the orange over a bowl, carefully cut along the membranes and slice the orange segments out. Let the orange segments and juices fall into the bowl. Continue to rotate the orange until you have sliced all the segments.
Give the leftover membrane a good squeeze to collect all the juices into the bowl. Remove orange segments from bowl and place on plate ready for assemble. Keep juices for dressing.
Wash and rinse rocket (arugula) leaves
How to Make Apple Cider Vinaigrette
This is a light vinaigrette using leftover orange juice from cutting your orange segments. Place olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper in a jar and give it a good shake.
How to Assemble the Salad
To build this salad, start with layering thinly sliced bresaola on a large serving platter. Then scatter rocket leaves before building another layer of grilled fennel and orange segments. Alternate the fennel and orange segments so you get a bit of everything when serving.
To serve, place burrata in the middle on the salad. Drizzle dressing over salad. Scatter a few fennel fronds to finish. That’s it. Super easy.
Before eating, pierce the burrata so the creamy stracciatella oozes out onto the salad. Perfect with warm crusty bread and marinated olives as an appetizer.
This fennel and orange salad can be easily transported as well. You will need to have each component stored separately and then assembled at your destination.
If bresaola is not a cured meat you’re accustomed to, we urge you to give it a try. We love experimenting with a varied version of a well known ingredient. Sometimes, it just gives our salad recipes a little lift without too much effort. And really, who can go past an oozing burrata, much like the satisfaction of a perfectly poached egg!
More Quick and Easy Salad Recipes:
- Jerusalem Artichoke, Pear and Prosciutto Salad
- Roasted Beetroot Salad with Tangelo and Pine Nuts
- Peas and Pasta Salad with Prosciutto
- Apple, Pear, Almond and Watercress Salad
- Risoni, Asparagus and Edamame Salad
Easy Salad Dressing Recipes:
- Lemon Parsley Anchovy and Garlic Dressing
- Red Wine Shallot Vinaigrette
- Ginger, Tamarind and Plum Sauce Dressing
Charred Fennel Salad with Bresaola
- 1 fennel
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 orange
- 120 g rocket leaves
- 100 g bresaola, thinly sliced
- 1 burrata cheese
- Trim fennel bulb, remove stalks and fronds. Keep fronds aside for garnish.Stand fennel bulb up and slice vertically from top to bottom into 0.5 cm slices.With a basting brush, brush both sides of fennel with 1 tsp olive oil and grill on grill pan until lightly charred. This will take 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside ready for assembly.
- Cut both ends of the orange and place fruit on cut side down. Then carefully cut along the curve as close as the orange flesh as possible removing the peel. Trim any leftover pith off after peeling. Holding orange over a bowl, using a sharp knife cut along membranes and slice the orange segments out. Let the orange segments and juices fall into the bowl. Continue to rotate the orange until you have sliced all the segments. Remove orange segments from bowl and set aside for assembly. Keep juices for dressing later.
- Wash and rinse rocket leaves.
- Place olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper in a jar and give it a good shake. Make sure the oil and vinegar have combined well.
- Start with a layer of bresaola, then scatter rocket leaves and build the layers of char fennel and orange segments.
- To serve, add burrata in the middle and drizzle dressing over salad.
- Sprinkle fennel fronds to finish.
- Before eating, pierce through the burrata so the stracciatella oozes out over the salad.
- Can substitute bresaola with prosciutto.
- Can easily transport with components stored in separate containers and assemble at destination.