Fennel: Friend or Foe?
May 15, 2010 § 2 Comments
The garden behind the kitchen we use on Mondays has become overrun by fennel. This weekend in my garden at home I pulled up fennel with roots at long as my four year-old. I once looked kindly upon this herb (or is it a vegetable?). Sure, it wasn’t invited, but it brought something to the party. Feathery fronds, a lovely scent when I picked it… But lately I’ve noticed fennel really oversteps it’s boundaries. It’s downright invasive. Have some class, fennel. This wild stuff doesn’t even seem to have a bulb. What’s up with that? It barely makes a dent in fennel population control, but I have found a delicious pasta recipe that uses young fennel fronds. I’m making the most of fennel, fennel everywhere.
This pasta recipe is from Alice Waters – it is in her Vegetables book. It’s very simple and straightforward and deeeelicious. You blanch a few handfuls fennel fronds, then dice them. I use the same water to boil the pasta – since it’s already hot, and I’m impatient. Mince a few anchovy fillets and a couple of garlic cloves – as much or as little suits your taste. I love a lot of each. In a sautee pan warm 3/4 C extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat and cook the anchovies and garlic gently – don’t let the garlic brown. After a few minutes add the fennel and cooked pasta and toss everything to coat it in oil. Add a bit of ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. I like to top the pasta with toasted breadcrumbs – they add a very nice texture. My finicky four year-old loves this dish, and so do I. That’s a wonder.