This salad of braised fennel, grilled radicchio, blood orange and buttery croutons is bursting at the seams with flavor. The geniuses at Del Posto swapped out a classic bagna cauda for an umami-packed marmite and roasted garlic bagna cauda “finta,” so it’s vegetarian, too!
1 head radicchio
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 bulb fennel
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
½ cup fennel juice (use a vegetable juicer)
salt to taste
2 blood oranges, cut into supremes
1 satsuma or other variety of mandarin or tangerine, cut into supremes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 sprigs mint, leaves picked and cut into strips
Salt to taste
¼ boule of crusty whole-grain bread
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fennel pollen (or substitute ½ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds)
Salt to taste
For vegan marmite bagna cauda "finta":
7 ounces peeled garlic cloves
2 ½ ounces marmite
3 ½ fennel juice
Olive oil to cover
Salt to taste
For traditional bagna cauda:
2 ounces rinsed anchovy
1 pint peeled garlic cloves
½ ounce butter
8 ounces olive oil
14 ounces milk
Make the grilled radicchio:
Cut the head of radicchio in eighths, keeping wedges intact at core. Toss with olive oil and salt. Grill until charred on each side. Remove to bowl. Marinate in balsamic while still warm.
Cover and let cool at room temperature, until softened through.
Make the braised fennel:
Cut fennel bulb into 16ths, keeping slices intact at core. Toss fennel in olive oil, then season with salt and Aleppo pepper and sear fennel in pan until golden. Deglaze with fennel juice and braise on stovetop until tender but not mushy. Cool to room temperature.
If you don't have access to a juicer, fennel juice can be substituted with a 50-50 blend of water and reserved juice from citrus supremes, seasoned with a pinch of sugar and salt.
Make the butter croutons:
Tear bread into bite-sized pieces. Melt butter in a skillet, then add the bread and toast in foamy butter until golden brown.
Remove from heat and toss with salt and fennel pollen.
Make the bagna cauda "finta":
Add garlic to a saucepan and add olive oil just until covered. Cook slowly over low heat until soft and golden brown. Strain oil and reserve.
Blend confit garlic, marmite and fennel juice, then drizzle in 3 ½ of reserved garlic confit oil until it emulsifies and becomes thick. Season with salt to taste.
Or, make the traditional bagna cauda:
Bring milk to a simmer and blanch garlic in milk, reserving ¾ cup of milk from blanching. Cover garlic cloves with olive oil and confit slowly over indirect heat until golden brown and soft all the way through. Meanwhile, cover anchovy with olive oil, just enough to cover. Cook slowly over a double boiler until anchovy dissolves. Add butter and stir until melted. Set aside.
Strain oil from garlic, reserving oil, and puree garlic with reserved milk until smooth. Whisk pureed garlic into anchovy mixture until emulsified, then whisk in reserved garlic confit oil. Finished product should be light brown and pourable.
Assemble the salads:
Toss the blood orange and satsuma supremes with the olive oil, mint, and a sprinkle of salt. Set aside.
Set out four plates and place a few spoonfuls of bagna cauda on each. Divide the grilled radicchio and braised fennel evenly between the plates, then strew a few croutons over each. Evenly divide the dressed citrus over top, then add a final drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and serve at once.