Friday, June 29, 2012

Pan-Fried Fennel

This week's box came with two enormous bulbs of fennel, even more enormous stalks and fronds attached. (We might have sort of also maybe had a bulb from the previous week still hanging around, too.)

All the greenery is a bit hard to know what to do with (I'd compost it if certain waste-not types weren't watching), though it has a rhapsodic admirer on Gilt Taste. Between Chowhound and Serious Eats, the best suggestion I saw for the stems was "use them to make stock." Maybe not on a ninety-degree day, guys.

The fronds found their unoriginal end in a large amount of fennel pesto (house recipe, today with walnuts and garlic). The taste is fresh and green -- not excessively licorice-like, I don't think.

There are lots of recipes, however, for the bulbs. Here are two dozen by Martha Stewart and fourteen more from the Huffington Post.

Today's winner was Martha's pan-fried fennel, which has an easy flour-egg-breadcrumb coating (you don't really need a recipe). Three fennel bulbs later, however, I still do not know how she cut the finger-like strips you see in her photo (and I would have ended up with fewer odd-shaped bits if I hadn't tried).

The result, I thought, was not unlike fried seafood -- I'm not sure if that's the Cajun seasoning I added to the flour, a flavor present in the oil (we reuse our fry oil), or some piscine affinity of the vegetable (which is, in fact, often served with fish).

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