April 25, 2012

Fennel and Arugula Salad with Pan Seared Chicken Sausage

I can’t get enough greens.  I’m a salad addict.  This is my all time favorite salad to make at home in the warmer months.  I can eat it every single evening for 3 months straight and have done so repeatedly over the past 4 years.  Recently I added shallots to my recipe which elevated the flavor to crazy new heights.  You can leave out the shallots; heck you can even leave out most of the olive oil if you’re watching your fats and it’ll still be the most refreshing summer salad to pair with grilled proteins and a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio!  


Makes 1 entrée serving

1 large handful arugula
1 heaping cup thinly sliced fennel
A few sprigs of fennel fronds, the spindly green things on the fennel stalks (if present…optional)
1 chicken sausage link (I love Applegate Farms Organic Sweet Italian Sausage or Aidell’s Sausages)
1 teaspoon minced shallot (about 1/4 of 1 large shallot)
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon, save the rind!)
Lemon zest (shave all yellow skin off the 1/2 lemon with microplane or smallest side of cheese grater)
Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese (use a carrot peeler to shave the cheese off the block, or buy pre-shaved)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
5 turns of fresh cracked pepper

Place arugula, sliced fennel and fennel fronds (if using) in a mixing bowl, set aside.  In a small separate bowl add the lemon juice, minced shallot, lemon zest, salt and pepper; whisk and let sit.

Place the chicken sausage in a small saucepan over high heat with enough water to submerge it by about a third and bring to a boil.  Let boil for about 5 minutes, turn sausage and let boil for another 5 minutes.  The water in the pan should be almost cooked off.  Transfer the sausage to a cutting board, return the pan to the stove, lower the heat to medium and let the water cook off completely.  Meanwhile, slice the sausage lengthwise and then in half moons about ½ inch thick.  Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to the pan, swirl to coat and throw the sausage back in.  Sear on both sides by jerking the pan every minute or so until all pieces are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes total.  Turn off heat.

Whisk the 2 remaining teaspoons of olive oil into the lemon juice mixture, plus any oil from the pan you cooked the sausage in (for extra flavor, optional).  Once blended, drizzle suitable amount over salad right before serving (careful not to overdress, all leaves should be coated but not dripping and no extra dressing pooling at the bottom of the bowl).  Toss gently, transfer salad and sausage to a serving bowl and top with desired amount of shaved Parmesan cheese.


Use any flavor chicken sausage; Spinach Feta, Roasted Red Pepper, Habanero & Green Chili, etc.
Vegetarian or Vegan?  Swap the chicken sausage for vegan sausage or fake chicken patties.
Love all Meats?  Swap out chicken sausage for grilled steak or real sausage
Add in fresh grape tomatoes, orange or grapefruit segments.
Taking it to work? Just keep the dressing in a separate container and dress salad right before eating.

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