Sponsored Post: Fennel-Satsuma Salad with Goat Cheese

I don’t find myself using bottled salad dressings all that often.  At home growing up, my mother taught us a simple recipe for balsamic vinaigrette that adorned every single salad we ate at dinner (and basically every single salad we still eat when visiting home.)  The salad ingredients changed (who else remembers the mesclun mix craze of the early 2000s?) but the dressing stayed the same: simple ingredients can make a supreme flavor profile.

Marzetti’s new Simply Dressed line of bottled salad dressings does something similar.  Without using preservatives, corn syrup, MSG or artificial flavors, Marzetti has created a bottled salad dressing that mimics the simplicity of a handmade dressing at home.  (You can view the entire line of Marzetti Simply Dressed salad dressings here: http://www.marzetti.com/products/marzetti/salad-dressings/marzetti-simply-dressed.htm.)  I tried the Champagne dressing – a simple vinaigrette made with champagne and white wine vinegars.  It’s a jazzier take on vinaigrette, with a sweet acidity provided by the champagne vinegar.  Unlike most bottled “italian”-style salad dressings, the dressing itself was not artificially thick – and coated lettuce nicely when I tried it on a simple salad.  I could have done with fewer “spices” (as listed, vaguely, in the ingredients section of the bottle) in the dressing, but overall, it’s a nice addition to a simple salad.

As I was thinking about the dressing, I was reminded of a salad I had at Gotham Bar & Grill early this summer, while Karen and I were having our “Friday Lunches So That We Do Not Go Crazy and Jump Off a Cliff While Studying for the Bar Exam” every week.  At that visit, I had a roasted beet and fennel salad with kumquat balsamic vinaigrette, and I thought that the flavor profile was something I could recreate myself.  Using the champagne vinaigrette, I started building a salad in my head…and got inspired when I saw the gigantic pomegranates that they were selling at Whole Foods.

A few notes on the following recipe:

– Satsumas are a mandarin orange, originally imported from Japan into Louisiana by Jesuits in the 18th century.  They are similar in size to tangerines, but have a spicier aroma (as if you’d left it to mature in a spice drawer for a week.)  They are currently in season, but if satsumas are not available near you, you can substitute any kind of tangerine.
– I used Coach Farm goat ricotta for my goat cheese.  It is tasty, but not very strong, and when I make this recipe again, I’ll choose something with a more outward, tangy goat milk flavor – likely the Monterey chèvre from Rawson Brook Farm.
– You can buy pomegranate seeds already de-seeded from the unwieldy fruit, but it’s more fun to inadvertently dye your kitchen counter blood-red.

My mis en place:

Missing from this photo: the red onion I decided to add in the middle of creating the recipe. Also missing: the lamp I was holding with one hand while taking the picture with the other; the 10 minutes it took me to find my digital camera.

Here’s the recipe, which sounds fussy but is quite simple to prepare.

: Fennel-Satsuma Salad with Goat Cheese

: A bright winter salad.

  1. 1 large bulb fennel
  2. 2 Satsuma oranges
  3. 1 small red onion
  4. 2 tbsp Marzetti Simply Dressed Champagne salad dressing
  5. 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  6. 4 oz soft curd-style goat cheese
  7. salt and pepper to taste

  1. Trim the stalks off of the fennel and slice in half lengthwise. Carefully cut very thin slices of the fennel bulb (as thin and translucent as possible, like shavings.) Place the fennel in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Supreme the satsumas and add the segments to the bowl. For very thorough instructions on how to supreme citrus, please see here: http://www.coconutandlime.com/2008/02/how-to-supreme-orange-or-tangerine-or.html
  3. Peel and slice the red onion in half. Carefully cut 8 very thin half-slices of onion, and add to the bowl.
  4. Add the salad dressing and toss to coat.
  5. Place half of the salad on a plate. Top with 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds and 2oz goat cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat plating and serve.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet tags: Reduced fat, Reduced carbohydrate, Gluten free, Raw

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

Here’s the finished product.

I used fennel fronds as garnish. Feel free to dismiss that as fussy.

This salad is simple enough to accompany a grilled piece of fish, but elegant enough to act as a first course to a more elegant dinner.

I was one of the bloggers selected by T. Marzetti Company and Clever Girls Collective to host a Marzetti Simply Dressed review. They provided me with product to test myself and compensation for my time. However, my opinions are entirely my own.

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4 Responses to Sponsored Post: Fennel-Satsuma Salad with Goat Cheese

  1. Karen says:

    Omnomnom. I want that salad immediately.

  2. Iverson says:

    Though I can eat goat cheese like ice cream, this post has not succeeded in making me hungry, but you now have me reading about Jesuits in Japan in the 1600s and the Clever Girls Collective. Fascinating. Thank you.

  3. RachelD says:

    Looks fantastic, Sara. Can’t believe I’ve never had pomegranate seeds; will have to try this soon.

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