Roast Fennel & Bread Salad with Anchovy Dressing


“It’s not a salad if you put bread in it” someone once told me. What a load of tosh. Have you ever heard of croutons? Hmmm? Although regular croutons depress me; rock hard squares that shatter to dust once bitten. I like to make bread more of the main event by getting some really good quality sourdough or a similar sturdy loaf, charring it and and tearing it into rough chunks (an idea I fell in love with after making this). It sponges up the dressing, leaving you with half juicy, half crisp pieces which really bulk out a salad in the most obscenely delicious manner.

Last night I wasn’t in the mood for meat, so I roasted some fennel and cherry tomatoes, added some fat kalamata olives and coated everything in an anchovy rich dressing – 10 really large, plump fillets which pumped things up a notch or twenty. Chilli, garlic, parsley, olive oil…you can imagine it all soaking into the bread. Go on, imagine it.

Deep-fried croutons, be gone.

Roast Fennel and Bread Salad with Anchovy Dressing (serves 2)

2 bulbs fennel
10 cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
About 8 kalamata olives
2 slices sourdough bread

For the dressing:

1 red chilli, finely chopped
Small handful parsley, finely chopped
10 plump anchovy fillets, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Remove the tough outer later of the fennel and trim any stalky bits at the top. Cut each bulb into quarters and then cut each quarter in half again. Arrange in a roasting dish and sling in the garlic (unpeeled) too. Drizzle with oil then give everything a good mix around to make sure it’s coated well. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes.

Arrange the tomatoes in a separate dish, coat with oil and season as you did with the fennel. Once the fennel has been roasting for 20 minutes, put the tomatoes in the oven too. Cook for a further 15 minutes.

To make the dressing, put the chilli, parsley and anchovies in a pestle and mortar and pound to a paste. Add the lemon juice, a good slug of oil to loosen it and season with black pepper. Give everything a really good mix to emulsify the dressing. Once the vegetables are ready, remove the garlic and squeeze that into the dressing also. Mix well again.

Toast the bread, tear it into chunks and put into a large bowl. Add the fennel and tomatoes followed by the dressing. Give it a really good mix. Arrange on plates with the olives scattered over.

Category: Bread, Fish, Fish and Seafood, Main Dishes, Salads | Tags: , , , , , , , , 18 comments »

18 Responses to “Roast Fennel & Bread Salad with Anchovy Dressing”

  1. Paul

    Wasn’t in the mood for meat? You feeling ok? :^P

  2. Helen

    Actually now you mention it, I did have a bit of temperature…

  3. joey

    It is too a salad if you put bread in it! An absolutely delicious salad at that! This is giving me all sorts of inspiration…

  4. Helen

    Thank you. Glad to have inspired!

  5. thelittleloaf

    Beautiful. Those chunks of golden crispy bread look incredible. Who are these people who don’t think you can put bread in salad. Have they not heard of fattoush? Panzanella? Anyway, salad or not this looks amazing – just the kind of dish I love to eat :-)

  6. Helen

    I know, right?! Pretty much every cuisine in the world has a bread salad.

  7. Shu Han

    the roasted fennel looks amazing! I’ve pretty much only tried fennel raw/sauted, got to give it a go! (coincidentally also did a fennel salad in my last post, though with bacon). good job, that’s delicious looking!

  8. Minnie

    This sounds really lovely, can’t wait to try it! Can I just check – does the fennel cook for 35 mins total? (20 mins + 15 mins with the tomatoes)

  9. Helen

    Hi Minnie – yes leave it in with the tomatoes so 35 mins total. Basically you want to cook it until it’s nice and tender.

  10. Lizzie

    People have strange issues with bread.

    this looks ace; especially as it’s got anchovies in it.

  11. Jessica

    Oo, very tasting looking and a very reasonable length ingredients list indeed. Win!

  12. Helen

    Yes, a very simple one this! Do let me know if you try it

  13. Jessica

    P.s. I’m sure you know this already, but you get a mention on the Word of Mouth Guardian blog today:

  14. Helen

    I did! But thank you very much for the heads up anyway :)

  15. Emilie

    Made this for lunch yesterday – very piquant dressing (allergic to lemon, so used cider vinegar), great idea to use sourdough. The fennel was roasted so caramelised beautifully. Definitely one we’ll make again, and bridges the gap between summer salads and winter vegetable stews.

  16. Helen

    Fab, really glad to hear you liked it. Hooray for bread in salads!

  17. Wendy

    How did I miss this??? Goodness, it looks delicious.

  18. Gillian

    I’ve only recently started cooking with fennel – gonna give this a try for sure!

Leave a Reply

Back to top