Recipe: fennel salad to fall in love with

A good start(er) begins with roses

The rose is the ultimate symbol of love. The heart-shaped petal represents love and trust. A fennel salad with grilled ricotta, rose chutney and pomegranate sets the right tone from the start. This appetiser marks the beginning of a delicious meal!

What you need (serves 4)

  • 2-3 fresh organic edible roses, preferably Damask roses*

  • 5 tbsp sugar

  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tsp white pepper

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1-2 tbsp rosewater

  • 250 g ricotta

  • 1 medium-sized fennel

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, roasted in a dry frying pan

  • 100 ml fragrant extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4-5 tbsp pomegranate seeds

  • Two dried rosebuds*

  • Fleur de sel

  • Melba toast

  • You will also need: mandolin

How to make it

Preheat the grill to 220°C. Remove the rose petals and chop them very finely. Heat them with the sugar, the lemon juice and zest and a splash of water over a low heat. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes to make a sort of jam. Season with freshly ground white and black pepper, a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp rosewater. 

Pour the ricotta onto a sheet of baking parchment on a baking tray. Sprinkle over some salt and some of the olive oil, and place under the grill for approximately 20 minutes until light golden brown. 
Meanwhile slice the fennel into very thin slices with the mandolin. Mix the rest of the olive oil with 1 tbsp rosewater to taste. Mix some of the rose oil with the fennel. Finely grind the dried rose petals with some fleur de sel. 

Serve the grilled ricotta on a large plate, then place the fennel salad around it and scatter some rose jam over the ricotta. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, some rose salt, the toasted coriander and some rose oil and dried rose petals to taste. Serve with Melba toast. 

What a perfect start to a meal. Love!

If you’d rather have the recipe as a PDF you can download it here!

*One more thing: never tuck in to just any old (cut) flower or plant; only use edible flowers from specialist suppliers that have been grown for human consumption.