“just use it like a vegetable”
it has come to our attention that there is some mystery surrounding the preparation and application of fennel. two csa members inquired separately this week about how to use, as one member put it, “that white, heart-shaped thing”.
here are a few of the ways we used fennel this week:
* brown rice: sauteed 1 bulb fennel (maybe two), onion, garlic and peppers in olive oil for a short-while. stirred in brown rice and sauted until rice was a little translucent, added the water (2:1), chopped roma tomatoes and salt, put the lid on and cooked until rice was done. the fennel was soft and subtle.
* the above rice was eaten for lunch that day w/ curried chick peas that were simmered with leeks and milk. (maybe we will include the curried leek recipe in a future leek post)
* leftover rice was used for lunch the next day: combined with chopped arugula, thinly sliced bulb of fennel, halved cherry tomatoes, toasted walnut oil and balsmic vinegar. all mixed together and generously topped w/ fresh cracked pepper and coarse sea salt.
* second day lunch preparation with fennel: same as above substituting leftover cooked pasta for the rice, adding chopped scallions, olive oil instead of walnut oil, halved cherry tomatoes, and another bulb of thinly sliced fennel on top, balsamic vinegar and viola! pasta salad…and another bulb of fennel consumed.
* scrumptious eggy breakfast: whole bulb boiled in salted water 15 minutes, strained, chopped, sauted in butter until slightly brown. lined greased pie pan with the fennel, covered with mozzarella, cracked 4 eggs over top, a layer of fresh grated parmesan, baked until eggs are done. saturday morning breakfast, check! another bulb of fennel consumed!
* butterscotch bean soup: sauteed one bulb chopped fennel in olive oil. after about 5 minutes added fresh umbellatus mushroom (or any fresh mushroom, or none at all. we just happen to have some from the mushroom man at market) and garlic. cooked until mushroom is soft. added this mixture to the pot of (previously cooked) beans and bean water. added ½ cup chopped parsely, ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 chopped tomato, serve once the tomatoes were heated through.
* we also love the simple salad preparation of thinly sliced red onion, celery root, fennel bulb and lots of chopped parsley. tossed with lemon juice, salt and pepper and topped w/ a drizzle of walnut oil. (recipe from: Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual)
* fennel fronds can be used in flower bouquets, chopped and added to scrambled eggs, rice, or fried potatoes or composted. don’t feel bad. compost is good.
nic put it quite simply this week when he eloquently explained his favorite use of fennel; “i just use it like a vegetable.”
so there you have it. just use it like a vegetable.