Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another post about food

I remember eating fennel from the garden occasionally as a kid - we would place entire fennel bulbs in a casserole dish and bake them in the oven with cheese. If you've never eaten cooked fennel before, you might expect it to to have an overpowering anise flavor, but this ends up being very faint; overall, the flavor is actually pleasantly sweet and mild.

Before our oven broke down in the fall, someone had planted fennel in the front yard. This may have actually been a year or more ago - by last week, the largest plant had a base nearly the size of my head, and many new pups had sprouted up nearby. Unfortunately, since we don't have a functioning oven and had only ever baked them before, we were at a slight loss of how to process it in quantity: I think the last harvest in December got turned into a pasta dish:

Well, as the fennel was flowering and threatening to seed out (never a good idea with this species, it tends to get invasive), we decided to tear the remaining plants out this week. I'm never a fan of throwing food out, so it was time to find some new stove-top fennel recipes!

I found a simple recipe on allrecipes.com that looked good, and it turned out great! The fennel is cooked in white wine and broth with a little honey and mustard. Here are the smaller bulbs (I cooked the large one as a separate meal) trimmed down and cleaned:

I followed the recipe pretty closely (I didn't have mustard seeds so I substituted ground mustard), and served it with spanish rice:

The result isn't particularly eye catching, but the tongue reacts differently! I would highly recommend fennel as a super easy vegetable to grow, and a great alternative if you find yourself tiring of the same old green beans every night.

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