Thursday, 6 March 2008

F is for Fennel

Cannot recall seeing fennel – often mistakenly labelled as anise - on the grocer’s shelves only a few years back; it may have been in the city’s parochial era. Or maybe an interest in Italian cooking naturally leads to locating and partaking of this herb type vegetable. However its discovery happened, it has become a regular item due to the delicate nature and pleasing liquorice taste on the palate. For salads remove the stems, fronds, any tougher outer skin and the core from the bulb before slicing it very thinly – a mandolin is helpful – directly into the bowl. The stems and fronds can be chopped up and added to the water for boiling pasta. After cooking, remove the stems and larger fronds, and then use a bit of the strained water to add extra zip to the sauce. The lighter taste complements roasted vegetables without overpowering them as can occur with onions.

•Potatoes         1 ¼ pounds medium size, peeled and quartered along the length
•Fennel bulb    ½ pound trimmed and sliced vertically into 5 or 6 pieces
•Carrot             ½ pound peeled and sliced into ¾ inch chunks
•Garlic              4 cloves peeled and flattened
•Fennel seeds  2 tablespoons
•Olive oil           3 tablespoons
•Lemon juice    ¼ cup
•Salt                  ¼ teaspoon
•Pepper            ½ teaspoon

Preheat 8" x 12" glass or other baking pan with 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in 400' F oven.
Lightly toss together in a large bowl all of the ingredients with the remaining tablespoon olive oil until well coated.
Transfer into preheated baking dish and spread out as much as possible.
Turn vegetables every 10 minutes to brown evenly.
Add small amounts of water or oil to prevent excessive burning.
Cook for 45/50 minutes until potatoes brown and vegetables are easily pierced with a fork.

No comments: