Manchego and Fennel Salad with Chestnut Honey and Mustard Dressing
The honey used in this recipe is made from the pollen of chestnut flowers. It's aromatic and dark with bags of character and a hint of spice. Meat eaters: feel free to add honey glazed bacon to this sweet and succulent salad.
2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and halved, any fronds chopped and reserved
50g rocket leaves
120g manchego cheese, shaved into ribbons
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
For the dressing:
1 tbsp chestnut honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
Salt and black pepper
For the honey-glazed bacon (optional):
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon
2 tsp Manuka honey
Start by making the dressing: whisk the honey, mustard and lemon juice together with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Slowly add the oil to make a thick dressing and finish by whisking in 1 tbsp water to lighten the consistency.
Use a mandolin, the slicing blade of a food processor or, more laboriously, a very sharp knife, to slice the trimmed fennel as wafer thin as possible.
If you are including the honey-glazed bacon, lay the bacon rashers flat in a dry frying pan and place it over a medium heat.
Once the bacon begins to turn golden underneath, turn it over and cook for a couple of minutes more. Now drizzle the rashers with manuka honey, turning them often and cooking for a minute or two more, until deeply caramelised and glazed.
Remove from the heat and snip into pieces with scissors.
Combine the sliced fennel with the rocket and any chopped fennel fronds, then toss with a few spoonfuls of dressing.
Gently tumble the manchego through, along with the bacon, if using.
Divide between serving plates, scatter with pine nuts and spoon over a little of the remaining dressing.
Any extra will keep for a good few days in the fridge.