Tuesday, 11 March 2008

fennel

Fennel has long divided people. It tastes like aniseed. It looks kinda like celery and dill had babies in the backyard. But those in the know are enjoying the season for this unexpectedly effervescent vegetable.

Here are two ways (amongst many) to eat it.

Roasted Fennel with Baked Pork Loin and Nectarines

Ingredients:

1 medium sized fennel, outer layers removed and cleaned
2 evenly sized pork loins, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 semi ripe nectarine, halved and seed removed
1 clove of garlic, crushed (tip: if you cut it and set it aside for a few minutes before cooking, it increases its antioxidant content)
1 small bulb of garlic, tips chopped off

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Rub the crushed garlic on the pork and set aside
Chop fennel into large pieces and drizzle wih olive oil, salt and pepper
Once the oven is hot, place the fennel and the whole garlic in the oven
On a hot skillet, sear the pork on both sides for 3-4 minutes each
Place the nectarines on the skillet and sear on both sides so that the juices start to release and the fruit is left with some nice charred marks
Remove both the meat and the fruit from heat and set aside
Once the fennel starts to sofen, pop the pork and nectarines into the baking tray and cover with foil
Leave to bake for around 20-25 minutes

Italian Fennel Salad
(this one is eeeeasy)

Ingredients

1 medium sized fennel, outer layers removed, the remainder cleaned and finely sliced
3-4 ripe figs
4 rashers of proscuitto
Shavings of parmegiano reggiano to taste
Good olive oil (this is important as it provides the basis for the dressing of the salad)
1/4 lemon

Method

Arrange the fennel slices and proscuitto on a large plate
Score the tops of the figs in a cross pattern and squeeze the bottoms..(this makes them look like little juicy flowers opening)
Pop these on the plate and scatter the shaved parmesan over the top
Drizzle the plate with olive oil and lemon juice and season with sea salt and pepper


..try it with a good grilled barramundi and a glass of rose

Bon Apetito!

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