This lovely autumn salad combines crisp, juicy fennel with fresh figs, hazelnuts, and pomegranate seeds. The prosciutto ham contributes a deliciously salty note, but it's optional. The bright, tangy flavor of our simple Pomegranate Vinaigrette, which marries pomegranate molasses and hazelnut oil, balances the figs' sweetness and the anise hints of the fennel. For a finishing touch, toasted hazelnuts and ruby red pomegranate seeds add both flavor and crunch.
fennel bulb (trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and cored)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
butter lettuce (Bibb or Boston) (torn into pieces)
fresh Figs (such as Black Mission) (cut in half)
prosciutto ham (optional) (torn into strips)
toasted hazelnuts (coarsely chopped)
Cut the fennel crosswise into very thin slices and transfer to a small bowl. Toss the fennel with the hazelnut oil, salt, and pepper to keep it from discoloring.
Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl and toss with half of the Pomegranate Vinaigrette.
Divide the salad among 4 plates. Top each serving with some of the fennel, 4 fig halves, and prosciutto, then scatter hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds over the salad. Drizzle each serving with more of the vinaigrette to taste and serve immediately.