Fennel, Pepper & Mozzarella Salad

Last night, my husband, Eric made this delicious and slightly unusual salad. It’s from the Weber’s Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cooking with Live Fire cookbook.  He also grilled the peppers while he was grilling the fennel.

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Fennel, Pepper & Mozzarella Salad

Serves 6

Dressing
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp anchovy paste
1/4 tsp crushed red chile flakes
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Salad
2 medium fennel bulbs, 8 to 10 oz each, stalks and fronds removed, with the root end intact
2 roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup pitted black olives, rinsed, and roughly chopped
3 Tbs roughly chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl whisk the dressing ingredients.

Cut each fennel bulb in half lengthwise, through the stem, into 2 wide, flat halves. Lightly brush the halves on all sides with some of the dressing.

In a large bowl combine the remaining salad ingredients.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Brush the cooking grates clean.

Grill the fennel halves, cut sides down, over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until lightly charred but not burned, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the fennel over and grill for another 3 minutes, then move them over indirect heat. Cook over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until crisp-tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the fennel from the grill and let cool.

When cool enough to handle, cut away and discard the hard, triangular core of each half. Cut the remaining fennel into 1/2-inch pieces. Add them to the bowl with the salad ingredients. Add as much of the remaining dressing as you like to moisten the salad. Mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

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