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Buffalo mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and pickled fennel

This dish is a composed salad with all the elements served separately. Until you've tried pickled fennel you don't know what you are missing. Leave the fennel in the pickling liquid for up to a week if you're not using it right away.

Servings: 4

Ready time: 1 hour 30 minutes, including chilling

Pickled fennel

1 fennel bulb

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

1 cup water

½ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Salad

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

½ head escarole lettuce, washed and torn

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 ball buffalo mozzarella, sliced

1 cup pickled fennel

Maldon salt

Method

Remove core from fennel. Slice in quarters, then thinly slice or shave on a mandolin. Place in a bowl.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine fennel seeds, water, white wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to boil and simmer 2 minutes over medium high heat.

Pour over fennel and leave to marinate for 30 minutes or until softened and flavourful. Drain and refrigerate until needed.

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

Toss tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay skin-side down, on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until browned and dried just at the edges. Set aside to cool.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add rosemary and sauté for 30 seconds or until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Toss escarole with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide escarole among 4 plates. Lay a few slices of buffalo mozzarella on the side of the plate, along with a small portion of roasted tomatoes and a small heap pickled fennel. Sprinkle fried rosemary leaves around plates, a little extra virgin olive oil and Maldon salt.

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