Today we made dishes from Fennel. This is an herb/vegetable that I have never cooked with and wasn't exactly sure what it looked like in the grocery store. I had a delicious salad at a neighborhood party one time. The person who made it said the unique flavor was Fennel. So I thought we'd try it out.
The boys enjoyed helping cook the 2 dishes, but weren't that fond of the end results. I have to agree. I like it, but in small doses. I would make these dishes again for adventurous adult eaters, but probably not for the kids. Although the leftover leaves made a fun centerpiece!
Fennel is an herb that originally comes from the Mediterranean and is in the same family with anise, liquorice, and tarragon. The Florence Fennel with the large bulb is the variation that is used as a vegetable - what we used today. It was not easy to find in our town - finally I found these 3 bulbs at Kroger.
We made a pasta dish and a puree with Fennel today for lunch. Brennan has become quite the expert potato peeler.
Once you chop off the leaves and remove the outer layer from the bulb, you slice the fennel in half. Then you remove the little triangle of core from the center of the bulb before slicing it.
Now for the least appetizing looking pictures you've ever seen. The real food actually looked better than is represented here.
Penne with Fennel and Sweet Potatoes (Food Network)
Fennel Puree (Giada De Laurentiis)
If you try these out, let me know how you like them!
Penne with Fennel and Sweet Potatoes
12 oz. penne pasta, cooked and drained
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
1 fennel bulb, sliced lengthwise and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 tsp dried chopped rosemary
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups roasted sweet potatoes, cuben
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp chopped parsley (I omitted)
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta, drain and keep warm under a towel. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add fennel, rosemary, and sugar and cook 10 minutes until fennel is tender and golden brown. Stir in the roasted sweet potatoes.
Whisk together chicken broth, milk, and flour. Add to skillet and simmer 3 minutes, stirring until thick. Add the pasta and mix to coat. Stir in Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper, and cook until heated through. Garnish with fennel leaves. Serve immediately.
2 large fennel bulbs (core removed and sliced in 1/4 inch slices)
1 medium potato
2 garlic cloves
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped mint (I omitted)
Trim the leave from the bulb and remove the outer leaves. Slice lengthwise and remove the hard core. Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Peel the potato, halve, and thinly slice as well. Place the fennel, potato, garlic, chicken broth and milk in a skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook 30 minutes. Drain the fennel mixture. Place the fennel/potato mixture into a food processor and puree. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add the mint leaves and process for just a couple of seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fennel leaves. Serve immediately.