Poach, barbecue, or simmer it fennel.
But cooking accentuates its sweetness, and these four recipes show different ways to prepare it. Sliced and barbecued, fennel shows off the vegetale's dramatic shape. Poached, it can be served as a warm or cold salad. Poached and broiled for a hot entree, it merges with a fragrant orange and cinnamon sauce. braised, it simmers slowly with onions until it becomes creamy in texture and even more mellow in flavor.
To use, trim off woody stalks to within 1 to 2 inches of the head. Save leaves (the wispy feathers) for an attractive garnish. Barbecued Fennel
Cut off and discard woody stems and bruises from 1 large head fennel (about 1 lb.). Rinse, then cut head vertically into 4 equal slices. Trim feather leaves; save.
Brush mustard vinaigrette (recipe follows) lightly over cut sides of fennel. Place on a barbecue grill about 6 inches above a solid bed of hot coals. Grill until fennel is slightly tender when pierced, about 12 minutes on each side.
Place fennel slices on 4 salad plates or a platter. Add flowers (if used) to vinaigrette and spoon onto fennel. Serve hot or at room temperature garnished with reserved fennel leaves, pepper, and lemon wedges. Serves 4 as a first course or to accompany an entree.
Mustard vinaigrette. In a bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons salad or olive oil, 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon minced shallot or ret onion, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme leaves. Add salt to taste. Baste fennel, then mix in 2 tablespoons well-washed wild mustard flowers or pesticide-free pansy petals (optionals). Poached Fennel Salad
1 large head (about 1 lb.) fresh fennel, rinsed
1-3/4 cups regular-strength chicken broth
Pepper mayonnaise (recipe follows)
Cut fennel vertically into quarters. Cut off and discard woody stems; save feathery leaves.
In a 3- to 4-quart pan, bring broth to boiling. Add fennel; cover and simmer until tender when pierced, about 30 minutes. Drain (reserve broth for soup); cool to room temperature, then use (or wrap and chill up to 1 day).
Placed fennel on 4 salad plates or a platter. Spoon pepper mayonnaise over fennel. Garnish with fennel leaves and pepper. Offer remaining pepper mayonnaise from a pitcher. Makes 4 servings.
Pepper mayonnaise. With a wire whisk, beat together until blended 2 egg yolks, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Beating constantly, add 1/2 cup salad oil in a steady stream. Add salt to tase. Serve, or cover and chill up to 2 days. Fennel Orange and Cinnamon Gratin
1 large head (about 1 bl.) fresh fennel, rinsed
1-3/4 cups regular-strength chicken broth
1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated orange
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 pound Swiss cheese, shredded
Freshly ground pepper
Cut fennel head vertically in half. Cut off and discard woody stems and bruises. Trim feathery fennel leaves from head and save.
In a 3- to 4-quart pan, bring broth to boiling. Add fennel; cover and simmer until tender when pierced, about 30 minutes; drain, reserving broth. Place fennel, cut side down, in an oval or rectangular baking dish about 9 by 13 inches.
Melt butter in a 2- to 3-quart pan over medium-high heat. Add flour; cook, stirring, until flour and butter brown lightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup reserved broth; cook and stir until boiling and thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the orange peel and the cinnamon.
Pour sauce over fennel halves and top with cheese. Broil about 4 inches from heat until top browns, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle fennel with reserved leaves, remaining orange peel, and pepper. Serve hot. Serves 2 as a light entree, or cut each half lengthwise to make 4 servings as a vegetable. Glazed Fennel and Onions
2 pounds fresh fennel heads, rinsed
1/3 cup butter or olive oil
1 medium-size onion, sliced
3 tablespoons meat glaze (see page 119 of the March 1983 Sunset, or buy frozen) or regular-strength beef broth
Cut off and discard woody stems and bruises from fennel. Trim feathery fennel leaves from stalks and reserve. Cut fennel crosswise into thin slices.
In a 5- to 6-quart pan with heavy bottom, melt butter. Add fennel and onion; cover and cook on medium-low heat until vegetables are limp, about 15 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring often, until juices cook away and vegetables become golden, about 40 minutes. Add meat glaze and cook, stirring, until vegetables look evenly creamy, about 5 minutes (if beef broth is used, vegetables will be moist instead of creamy). Add salt to taste. Serve hot; or cool, cover, and chill up to 2 days. Reheat to serve. Serves 4.
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|Date:||Feb 1, 1984|
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