Cooking with R&R: Caramelized Panchetta and Fennel Salad

This is one of those recipes that start one way and inevitably change into something a bit different. The original can be found here. I was trying to find something more interesting to do with salad. This sounded good and Giada….well it’s Giada! 😉

When I made it by following the recipe it came out alright, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. The Wife enjoyed it as well, and after we spoke about it, we decided to try some changes. Basically we did the following:

  • Increased the amount of Panchetta
  • Diced the fennel
  • Added pine nuts
  • Used Balsamic Vinegar in the dressing instead of Red Wine Vinegar
  • Used 7oz of salad greens instead of 5oz. I usually use Baby Arugula

These changes, in both our opinions, made the dish better.

Here is how to make my version of Caramelized Panchetta and Fennel Salad. Makes 4-6 Servings


    For the Caramelized Panchetta and Fennel:

  • 1/2lb sliced Panchetta
  • 1 large or 2 small Fennel bulbs
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (I usually use 2 heaping tbsp of minced garlic from a jar)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
    For the dressing:

  • 1/2 tsp of honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
    Other Ingrediants

  • 1 Package of Greens or 7oz fresh greens
  • 1 package of pine nuts (about 5-6oz)
  • Shaved Parmesan


    Fennel and Panchetta

  1. Set your oven to 450 degrees
  2. Dice the fennel
  3. Add the fennel, salt, pepper, garlic, brown sugar into a bowl
  4. Now, shred the panchetta and add it to the bowl
  5. Add the tbsp of olive oil, and stir it all together
  6. Spread the mixture on a tinfoil covered baking sheet. The panchetta pieces WILL bunch up, so break up the bunches by hand
  7. Cook for 20-22 minutes
  8. While the mixture is cooking, roast the pine nuts in a pan until lightly brown. Set aside on a plate to cool.
  9. Once the panchetta/fennel mixture is finished, let stand for 5 minutes

  1. Add the honey, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and vinegar to a bowl
  2. While mixing, add the 1/4 cup of olive oil until you have an emulsion

Once everything is ready, add the salad greens, roasted pine nuts, panchetta/fennel mixture, and dressing to a large salad bowl. Mix together and serve with the parmesan shavings on top.

How it comes out

Final Comments
This dish, which can be a side or a main course, is a many layered flavor experience. The carmalization of the panchetta using the brown sugar makes a sweet/savory combo. The cooking of the fennel cuts the anise flavor from overpowering, to a wonderful accent. The woody flavor of the pine nuts, the peppery flavor of the arugula, and the wonderful flavor of the dressing help to make this a truly delicious and easy to make salad for any occasion.

And once again, a tip of the hat to Giada, who’s recipe formed the basis of my version.

  1. #1 by The Wife on October 12, 2009 3:48 pm - 3:48 pm

    This is THE BEST salad EVER!

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