This is a simple yet hearty salad of flavour contrasts: crisp fennel, smoky bacon, creamy burrata and tomatoes with a balsamic kick. They are all brought together with the smooth sweetness of basil to become a harmonious - and deeply satisfying - mix. Best served while the bacon and tomatoes still have some heat about them. Ciabatta is good to mop the juices up with.
Servings - 4
2 fennel bulbs
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cider vinegar
6 rashers smoked back bacon
500g small tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
handful of basil leaves
Trim the bottom, top and outer layer off the fennel. Slice it very thinly and toss with the olive oil, vinegar and seasoning. Arrange on a serving plate.
Dry fry the bacon until browned, then cut into thick pieces and add to the fennel. Put the tomatoes into the pan the bacon cooked in - it will have released some fat so you should not need to add oil - and cook the tomatoes over a medium heat, tossing occasionally, for about 5 minutes until they are bursting and slightly blackened. Halfway through their cooking time drizzle the balsamic over the tomatoes.
Add the tomatoes (and any juices in the pan) to the fennel and bacon. Toss everything round. Tear the burrata into chunks and dot over the salad. Finish with the basil leaves strewn over and another grinding of pepper.
(This recipe originally featured for Borough Market.)