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Posts Tagged ‘Fennel’

Mussel & fennel risottoWe really liked this tasty risotto made with delicious stock from the mussels. Jules bought half the quantity of mussels (in error!) but it was no worse for it. The sort of thing we like to eat on a Friday night with a glass of something bubbly.

Wine Suggestion: As we have a few bottles of Sparkling Saumur lying around after our summer holiday to the Loire this year, we automatically gravitated to this and found it a good match. This time we opened the Bouvet-Ladubay Trésor blanc, a blend of mostly Chenin Blanc with some Chardonnay. Fresh and vibrant but with the quality of fruit to stand up to the food. Cost aside, we don’t know why more sparkling wines aren’t matched with food.

Mussel & fennel risotto – serves 4

  • 1.75kg mussels, cleaned thoroughly (discard any that don’t close when you hit them off the side of the sink)
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • a few parsley stalks
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ fennel bulb, trimmed & diced
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 50ml dry vermouth
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Put the mussels into a large saucepan over a medium heat with the white wine, parsley stalks and peppercorns. Cover and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until opened. Shake the pan a couple of times as they cook.

Strain over a bowl to catch the cooking liquor and remove the mussels from their shells. Throw away any that haven’t opened.

Strain the liquor through a sieve lined with muslin to catch any grit, then heat until simmering gently.

Heat 5 tbsp olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the onion, garlic and fennel over a medium heat until the onion is soft but not coloured. Stir in the risotto rice. Pour on the vermouth, then add the mussel liquor a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously. The rice should be cooked after about 20 minutes. Add some water if you run out of mussel liquor.

Stir in the mussels, parsley, lemon juice and seasoning to taste.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Radish & fennel salad

Let’s eat more radishes. They’re delicous and in season right now. Try this easy spring salad that tastes good with almost anything.

Lemony Radish & Fennel Salad – serves 4

  • 2 bunches leafy breakfast radishes
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced into rings
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 5 tbsp olive oil

Separate the leaves from the radishes, then wash & dry them.

Finely grate the zest of half the lemon, then juice all of it.

Put the lemon zest into a salad bowl and stir through the shallots. Leave to macerate.

Trim the fennel & slice it as finely as possible (a job for your mandolin if you have one). When you’re ready to serve, toss all the ingredients, including the radish leaves, with the lemon juice & olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Fennel & Roasted Tomato Lasagne 1

This is a great veggie dish that has had two outings in our house within a short space of time. It’s also one of the best recipes we’ve found for fennel which we sometimes find a bit uninspiring. We’ve made this in a larger tin, and thus thinner, and also in a deeper one. Both tasted great but we think the smaller diameter deeper dish works better.

Wine Suggestion: a classic match with Sangiovese especially from Chianti in Tuscany. Look out for wines with 100% Sangiovese in this case, even though there are some superb blends out there, as the nature of these wines complements the Fennel and Tomato more. We’ve tried both the Rocca delle Macie Sant’Alfonso Chianti Classico, which is unusally grown on thick clay, and the Selvapiana Chianti Rufina and both complemented the Lasagne excellently.

Fennel & Roast Tomato Lasagne – serves 4

  • 3 fennel bulbs, sliced
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 800g tomatoes on the vine
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150ml double cream, plus a bit extra if needed
  • 100g Parmesan, grated
  • 250g dried lasagne sheets

Heat the oven to 160C Fan. Place the fennel in a large roasting tray, season well and drizzle with 2tbsp of the oil. Place the tomatoes in a separate roasting tray. Season and drizzle with the remaining oil and balsamic. Roast both trays for 30mins

Stir the cream into the fennel and return to the oven for a further 10mins. Meanwhile lightly mash the tomatoes with a fork. Remove the fennel from the oven, grate over most of the cheese and stir to melt – it should make a little sauce that clings to the fennel – add a bit more cream if you need to. Reduce oven temp to 140c fan.

Spoon a thin layer of tomatoes into an ovenproof dish. Top with a layer of pasta, followed by a layer of fennel, then another layer of pasta. Repeat, finishing with a layer of fennel. Scatter over remaining cheese and bake for 45mins until golden and the pasta is cooked. Serve with a green salad.

(Original recipe by Matt Follas in BBC Good Food Magazine, July 2010.)

Fennel & Roasted Tomato Lasagne 2

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Crab with fennel & chilli is a winning combination. Another perfect pasta dish by Ruth & Rose of the River Café.

Wine Suggestion: We find a great match for crab is a top quality Garganega and we highly recommend the Pra Soave “Staforte” which is made from low-yielding, 100% Garganega, old vines. Utterly pure and delicious.

Crab linguine – serves 4

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 dried hot chillies, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, grate the zest and squeeze out the juice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g crabmeat
  • 320g linguine

Remove the tough outer part and stem from the fennel. Slice the bulb across the grain very finely (use a mandolin if you have one). Reserve the green tops.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy-based pan, add the garlic, fennel seeds, and chilli and cook to soften. Add the crab, lemon zest, and juice, then season. Stir just to heat the crab through.

Cook the linguine in boiling water for 5 minutes, then add the fennel slices and cook together until al dente. Reserve a little of the cooking water when you drain the pasta.

Add the drained pasta to the crab mixture and toss together until well combined. You can add a little of the reserved cooking water at this stage to loosen if necessary.

Serve with your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from Italian Two Easy by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers, Clarkson Potter, 2006.)

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This was really elegant and luxurious and the fennel and parsnip combination was unexpectedly delicious.

Fennel & Parsnip Soup – to serve 8

  • 50g butter
  • 175g onion, diced
  • 450g parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 450g fennel bulb, finely diced, keep the fronds to garnish
  • 1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml cream

Melt the butter in a large pot, add the onion, parsnips and fennel and stir well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a circle of baking paper and and the saucepan lid. Cook on a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes or until soft but not coloured.

Heat the stock and add, simmering for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are completely tender. Add the milk and cream.

Blend until smooth and taste for seasoning. Serve sprinkled with the reserved fennel fronds.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2001.)

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This dish has proved so delicious we’ve had it for dinner twice already this week and plan for another night with friends on Friday. Strictly speaking it isn’t as described as we substituted Pernod for Arak which was what we had to hand; you could also use Ouzo if you have some of this instead. The dish is bursting with flavour so some plain rice is all that’s needed on the side. Start ahead of time if you can so the chicken has time to marinate.

Roasted chicken with clementines & arak – to serve 4

  • 100ml Pernod (or arak or ouzo)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs
  • 1.3kg chicken thighs (with skin and bone in)
  • 4 clementines, unpeeled, sliced horizontally into ½cm slices
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2½ tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushe
  • salt and black pepper
  • chopped flat parsley, to garnish

Put the first six ingredients in a large bowl and add 2½ tsp of salt and 1½ tsp of black pepper. Whisk well.

Trim the fennel and cut each in half lengthways. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Add the fennel to the liquid, along with the chicken, clementine slices, thyme and fennel seeds. Combine with your hands then leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (or skip this stage if you don’t have the time).

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas Mark 7.

Transfer the chicken and marinade to a large oven-proof tray that can hold everything in a single layer; make sure the chicken skin is facing up.

Put the tray in the oven and roast for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is well browned and cooked through.

Remove the chicken, fennel and clementines from the tray and arrange on a serving plate; cover and keep warm. Pour the cooking liquids into a small pan, place on a medium-high heat, bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by a third – you should have about 80ml left. Pour the hot sauce over the chicken, garnish with some chopped parsley and serve with plain steamed rice.

Wine Suggestion: There’s lots of flavour going on in this dish so beware of going too neutral with the wine. A richer Vermentino from Sardinia would work well, where they have really mastered this grape.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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