So you want to eat healthy, but it’s a little chilly out, and you need some solid energy for the gym? This is a wonderful salad with amazing textures and insane flavors! With the first bite you get a hint of sweetness, but then overcome with a warm peppery bite. A must try for anyone who is bored with the same old salads every day!
I was headed to a New Years’ Eve dinner party and needed to bring a dish with me. With everyone knowing that I cook I knew I had to come up with something a little different that people don’t have every day. I decided to use one of the salads I have been using as a pre-workout meal. It’s filling, has vibrant greens, protein, and some energy boosting carbs. I cooked everything ahead of time and just heated up the warm ingredients in the oven when I got to the party and mixed it there. This also makes it great for meal prep since you can keep the elements separated until you need them together. It was a hit to say the least! People don’t usually have warm salads and are always pleasantly surprised. Whether you are going to enjoy this meal yourself or wow everyone with your skills, this is a dish that will definitely become a household favorite!
Warm Sausage & Fennel Salad
Ingredients (4-6 servings)
1 container of pre-washed baby arugula (5 oz.)
1/2 small – medium sized fennel bulb (including fronds)
1 small handful cherry tomatoes (about 10-15), halved
4 petite or fingerling potatoes, sliced
1 package free range chicken sausage (usually 4 links)
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch oregano
salt & pepper to taste
To get started, make a slit in each sausage link from end to end. Get them in a medium high cast iron skillet to brown. Once the outsides are browned, you can turn to medium heat to finish cooking through. While the sausage cooks, cut potatoes into quarters and thinly slice the quarters. You can also chop the fennel. Julienne the bulb and coarsely chop the fronds. Set aside. As soon as the sausages are done, take them out and set them on a cutting board to cool a bit and let the juices inside redistribute.
Using the same skillet, start frying the potatoes. You will probably need to add some oil to your skillet at this point since the recipe calls for chicken sausage. Depending on the type of sausage will determine the fat content, which will vary how much oil to add. The reason for not using a clean skillet? Why not use all the flavors from the meat and use less oil? Being Italian, I LOVE using olive oil for basically everything. While the taste of olive oil is better than most, there are other oil choices that have higher cooking temperatures and won’t burn so easily. At this point, it is very important to season the potatoes. Use some salt and pepper.
Fingerling potatoes cook much quicker than regular potatoes, so once they brown and get a bit crispy slide them over in the skillet. Add tomatoes. They don’t need much time at all. Just enough to get a little char on them. Now that those are cooked, allow them to rest on a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil and allow the potatoes to crisp up a bit.
Slice warm sausage on a slight angle. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and oregano. Dress the salad and toss evenly. DO NOT OVERDRESS.
Serve immediately and enjoy warm!