As you'll have seen from the previous blog, fennel has many health benefits and alongside that it tastes delicious. There are many ways it can be used in recipes whether raw or cooked, below are a few to try out...
1 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin with a mandolin or very thinly sliced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp chopped flat-leafed parsley
2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp black olives (optional)
Wash the fennel bulb and trim off any stalks, then cut the bulb in half length-ways (trimming off the root at the bottom first), then cut each half in half (again length-ways), remove outer layer of fennel. Either slice the quarters using a mandolin or a sharp knife as thinly as possible.
Place the thinly sliced fennel into a bowl large enough to mix in. Drizzle over the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and then sprinkle the thyme leaves and flat-leaf parsley, feta cheese and olives. Give it a thorough but gentle mix and season to taste before serving.
Fennel & lemon risotto
1 large fennel bulb, base trimmed
1 tbsp butter (or olive oil), plus a knob
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
140g risotto rice
175ml white wine
550ml hot vegetable stock
zest 1 lemon
25g parmesan, grated
Wash the fennel bulb and chop any green leafy fennel fronds and set aside. Cut the bulb in half length-ways (trimming off the root at the bottom first), then finely chop.
Heat 1 tbsp butter (or olive oil) in a frying pan and cook the onion, garlic and chopped fennel until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir for 1 min.
Pour in the wine and simmer until evaporated. Add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring between each addition until it is absorbed.
When the rice is cooked, stir in a small knob of butter, the lemon zest, parmesan and season. Take off the heat and set aside, covered, for 2 mins. Serve in bowls, topped with the fennel fronds
TIP: To add some protein add a handful of small cooked and peeled prawns, stirring them through at the end with the butter etc.
Orange & Fennel Roasted Cod
2 fennel bulbs (about 1/2 kg each) including the fronds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 kg cod fillets, cut to make 4 pieces
Heat the oven to 220c/gas mark.
Wash the fennel, cut off the tops of the bulbs and chop the leafy fronds. Cut each bulb into 8 wedges.
In a large roasting pan, toss the fennel wedges with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Spread the fennel in an even layer and roast for 25 minutes. Stir the fennel and rotate the pan so the vegetables cook evenly. Roast 15 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, combine the orange juice, orange zest, fennel seeds, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a mixing bowl. Add the cod and marinate while the fennel roasts.
Remove the pan with the fennel in from the oven and top it with the cod and its marinade. Roast until the cod is just done, about 10 minutes for 2cm-thick fillets. Sprinkle the chopped fennel fronds over the cod to serve.