Colatura? Maybe you’re familiar with this but I had never heard of it until a recent dinner at Ava Gene’s here in Portland. It was in a salad named “Pear. Fennel. Pine Nuts. Colatura. Scallions”, the salad was delicious with surprises of fresh mint and hot pepper.
I researched Colatura and discovered it’s sort of an anchovy oil, drippings from the chestnut barrels where they’re cured, this scared me a bit because I really don’t like anchovies, but the salad was superb and didn’t taste fishy at all. Generally you only use a small amount of Colatura with olive oil, but when I opened it, yikes! I was terrified. It smelled so fishy, but I put my trust in what I had read and its uses, and it’s true, when mixed with olive oil it enhances for a richer flavor, and there’s no fish taste or smell.
So how did it compare to Ava Gene’s? Not even close. Don’t get me wrong this is a delicious salad, but it didn’t have the wow factor that I was looking for. Those fancy chefs and their secret ingredients! If you don’t have Colatura or have a hard time finding it (I found 1 bottle left at Pastaworks, is this stuff just flying off the shelves?) or you just don’t want to use it you can replace it with lemon juice or fix up your favorite vinaigrette.
Pear Fennel Salad with Colatura + Pine Nuts
(Inspired by Ava Gene’s)
- 1/8 cup Pine Nuts (toasted)
- 1 pear, ripe but on the firm side
- 1 Fennel bulb, shredded, about 2 cups
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Colatura
- 1/8 cup Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Toast the pine nuts: Place pine nuts in single layer in skillet over high heat, toss nuts continually for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool. When cool crush pine nuts into a rough texture (not too fine).
Peel and core the pear and slice into thin strips, set aside in a bowl of lemon juice and water. Remove the fennel fronds and shred the bulb thin, preferably with a mandolin.
In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil and colatura, in another bowl add vinegar and red pepper flakes, slowly whisk in oil mixture until well combined.
In large bowl add fennel, pear, scallions and fresh chopped herbs, toss with dressing and pine nuts. Let the salad rest a bit in the refrigerator as it will enhance the flavors.