Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fennel is Fabulous

I admit to an ingrained prejudice against this vegetable. Anything that grows wild alongside the roads and walkways can't be that good. Plus it tastes of aniseed and I detest liquorice. So for the last 40 years I have ignored the enormous stands in Wattleup, Spearwood and Bibra Lake.

Last week Kevin visited some friends and Marina offered sliced raw fennel as a snack. He loved it - but then, he also loves liquorice. I remained unimpressed when he raved about it.

Then I read a piece in some paper or magazine that promoted braised fennel. Still unimpressed.

However, on my weekly visit to the vegetable market down the hill, I spied fennel at a really cheap price - 3 bulbs for $1 - so I bought some. I brought it home and Kevin sliced some up for a snack. I didn't like it at all, and he wasn't that enthusiastic about consuming the rest on his own. I could have dumped the remainder in the compost, but my Scottish ancestry kicked in.

Google has umpteen recipes for fennel. I ended up doing my own version as usual. Dinner tonight was great. Lamb cutlets, rice cooked in chicken stock, green beans and braised fennel.

I loved the fennel. I am now a convert and like most newly converted I want everyone to share my revelation.

Here is my recipe for braised fennel.

3 (well 2-1/2 tonight because of the bit Kevin had cut off) smallish bulbs fennel
2 cloves garlic
6 spring onions
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbs butter
1/4 c verjuice

Chop the onions and garlic. Slice the fennel horizontally in thin slices. Strip the leaves from the thyme stalks.
Melt the butter in a frypan on low heat. Soften onions and garlic.
Increase heat, add sliced fennel and thyme leaves and toss till mixture starts to brown.
Lower heat to lowest point, cover pan and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Remove lid, add verjuice and increase heat, stirring till liquid evaporates and mixture is slightly caramelised.

YUM!! We may now take a spade on our next walk at Bibra Lake.

I still don't like liquorice though.


Team McKibbin said...

Maggie Beer is a great fan of fennel and I've been eager to give it a go for a while, but have held back. I think I'll give your recipie a go though.
Cheers, sean.

Wilma said...

Thanks for the recipe, sounds good, so I am going to try it ;)
I am checking your blog regularly since a few months now. And as a Dutchie loving liquorice I had to reply ;)
Thanks for sharing!