Crottin Salad with Pears, Fennel, and Currants

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My French son-in-law brings me cheese from France, and I especially love it when it’s Crottin de Chavignol. It keeps for weeks, getting harder and more flavorful as it ages. When it is well aged, I often grate it into vinaigrettes or salads, where even a bit brings the taste of France to a dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 bulbs fennel
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 aged Crottin de Chavignol or other small, round aged goat cheese, about 2 oz (60 g), coarsely grated
  • ½ tsp sea salt or (kosher) salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • cups ( oz/45 g) mâche or baby arugula
  • 3 pears, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • cup (2 oz/60 g) dried currants

Method

Cut the stems and feathery leaves from each fennel bulb. Reserve a few of the leaves for garnish and discard the remainder and the stems. Trim off the base from each bulb. If the outer layer of either bulb is tough or discolored, discard it. Using a mandoline, or a very sharp chef’s knife, cut each bulb lengthwise into paper-thin slices. Then, using a knife, cut each slice lengthwise into strips ¼ inch (6 mm) wide.

In a large bowl, using a fork, mix together the vinegar, olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the grated cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the fennel and toss to coat well. Divide the mâche among 4–6 plates. Top with some of the dressed fennel, then add the sliced pears and a sprinkle of currants. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and garnish with a few fennel leaves. Serve at once.

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