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Recent fun with fennel

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Sue Courtney

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Recent fun with fennel

by Sue Courtney » Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:51 pm

Recent fun with fennel
Gosh, I love this ingredient. I was at a lunch yesterday and fennel flowers were served as a decoration. I sucked off all the pollen for a heavenly treat and now I've pressed the flower head. I didn't see anyone else touch their flower head, though. There was a fennel / anise flavour in the biscotti served at the end of lunch, too.

Here's some of the recipes I've made in the past couple of weeks.
    * Fennel bulb, halved and braised in sauvignon blanc (with a little bit of garlic, fennel seed and tangelo zest), decorated with fennel fern - and served with a glass of sauvignon blanc. This was a slight modification to a recipe I created in 2003 along with a few other fennel creations (see below), but I added tangelo zest (orange zest could be used) and used less oil.
    * A similar recipe with sliced fennel bulb and cubes of potato.
    * Pork fillet encrusted with crushed fennel seeds and chopped up shreds of tangelo or orange zest, browned in a pan and finished in an oven.
    * Pears in a fennel and cream sauce - using sliced fennel bulb and fennel fern. Made to go with the pork, but quite sweet (because fresh pears off my tree, in season now, were so sweet) - and therefore a good match for a sweeter white wine, eg a sweeter, Alsace-style pinot gris.
It anyone is interested in the recipes, give a yell.

I also made a fennel and orange salad, using sliced fresh fennel, fennel fern, orange zest and segments of the orange with a light dressing made from a little olive oil and orange juice.

My older fennel dishes are on my website's
food files and includes

    Fennel, Bok Choy and Coriander (i.e. Cilantro) rice (served with pan-fried fish).
    Warm Fennel, Apple and Pumpkin Seed Salad
    Fennel Bacon and Oyster Mushroom Stir Fry
    Fennel and Carrot Soup

Florence fennel bulbs are pretty rare here at this time of year (the wild fennel is going to seed) but the bulbs can be found. There's an outfit who grows them organically and supplies all year round, but my favourite green grocer gets some in too, not organic certified. He usually has the smaller, flatter ones but last week I found a big fat finnochio. The bulbs seems to last quite well in the vegetable crisper, too.
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Jenise

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Re: Recent fun with fennel

by Jenise » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:41 pm

I'm not having much fun with fennel at all! After the first bulb I purchased, I'm 0 for 2 at procuring more. Drat!

Nice post, though. I'm going to have to look at that fennel/bacon/oyster mushroom stir fry. That's a combination I wouldn't have thought of putting together, but it brings to the fore something I've been gelling on in the last few days, the idea of fennel as a central ingredient in an Asian stir fry. Certainly the technique of sauteeing with aromatics and steaming with broth to a quick finish is a perfect fit for fennel's temperament and texture.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Sue Courtney

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Re: Recent fun with fennel

by Sue Courtney » Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:14 pm

Jenise wrote:I'm not having much fun with fennel at all! After the first bulb I purchased, I'm 0 for 2 at procuring more. Drat!

Nice post, though. I'm going to have to look at that fennel/bacon/oyster mushroom stir fry. That's a combination I wouldn't have thought of putting together, but it brings to the fore something I've been gelling on in the last few days, the idea of fennel as a central ingredient in an Asian stir fry. Certainly the technique of sauteeing with aromatics and steaming with broth to a quick finish is a perfect fit for fennel's temperament and texture.


That combination came about because of the flavours of some of the best NZ Pinot Noirs. Some of them have a gorgeous spicy character that reminds me of anise, which is so akin to fennel, as well as a smoky bacon character to the oak while earthiness is an intrinsic character of pinot noir (or should be), which makes the combination of Pinot Noir and mushrooms a no brainer really. So I had the ingredients on hand and decided to try it out. Unfortunately I haven't managed to buy oyster mushrooms and fennel at the same time again. I like your idea of a little broth and a splash of Pinot Noir could achieve that too.

Let me know how it goes, if you ever manage to find that elusive fennel bulb.

Cheers,
Sue
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Martha Mc

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Re: Recent fun with fennel

by Martha Mc » Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:23 pm

Nice web site, Sue. I plan on trying the warm fennel, apple & pumpkin seed salad tomorrow night with some pork loin chops. Thanks!
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Linda R. (NC)

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Re: Recent fun with fennel

by Linda R. (NC) » Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:02 pm

I'm not having much fun with fennel at all! After the first bulb I purchased, I'm 0 for 2 at procuring more. Drat!


I haven't gotten any myself. When I wasn't intentionally looking for it, I would see large bulbs with stalks and leaves. Now all I see are scrawny little bulbs for $2.99-$3.49. Is this high, or what they usually cost?
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Jenise

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Re: Recent fun with fennel

by Jenise » Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:59 pm

Linda, the small bulbs are the best as the larger the bulb gets, the tougher it is. The price you mention, if it's a price per pound and not each, is typical. It's never cheap because it has a relatively short shelf life and it's not a high volume mover.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Linda R. (NC)

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Re: Recent fun with fennel

by Linda R. (NC) » Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:43 pm

Thanks Jenise. I'm really not sure if it was per pound or by the each. I'll check again. If smaller are better, then I'm in luck.

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