Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fennel Hot and Cold

It’s only a few days until my next box of CSA vegetables arrives. It’s surprising how the time flies and how many different things I get to try in between deliveries. This weekend I used the fennel, the last big item left. I still have one garlic scape from an earlier delivery and some green onions, which are also holding up well against time.

Fennel was the heartiest of the vegetables from my last box from the farm, and it hadn’t wilted at all by the time I used it this weekend. With the consistency of celery and the taste of licorice, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I had don’t remember receiving it before and had two bulbs to use up, so I decided to try two separate recipes.

The first was a wilted salad with a fennel and red onion dressing and the second was a raw tomato sauce with fennel, both from the Two Onion Farm recipe collection. They have a great index on their site, so I probably could use one of their recipes for each vegetable, if I didn’t love searching for my own so much. Since I didn’t have the lettuce and tomatoes required for the two recipes, I supplemented my collection with some that I found at the farmer’s market.

The wilted salad was superb, with red onion and fennel cooked in bacon drippings and balsamic vinegar. Bacon was indeed the secret ingredient, added along with the cooked vegetables to the top of the lettuce. While the salad was good, it was hard to taste anything but the balsamic vinegar and, of course, the bacon. The distinctive taste of the fennel was nowhere to be found.

Which is why I decided to make the raw pasta sauce with the second fennel bulb. The recipe couldn’t have been simpler. I cut up three tomatoes, sliced up the fennel, tore up some basil and added a little salt and pepper. I served it over pasta with Parmesan shavings. This was the winner for letting the taste of the fennel come through. It played the perfect contrast to the tart tomatoes and the sweet basil and also added a nice crunch. I also tried it as a topping for some of the leftover lettuce and it tasted just as good there.

I even have a few leftovers to carry me through until Tuesday. I’m expecting lettuce, cucumbers, dill, summer squash, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, red onions, garlic, more beets and possibly kohlrabi. The search begins again.


  1. Hello Catherine-

    I just found your blog from your "hello" posting on "She Writes!". This is a great blog and I can't wait to follow it!

    Marianne AKA Lucy's Human

  2. Marianne-
    Thank you so much for your comment. I enjoyed reading your blog, as I am a dog lover as well, but I was sorry to hear about Ceaser. I hope Lucy can provide comfort during this difficult time.