Sunday lunch: fennel over a fire!

Common fennel mainly grows in nature and is used as a spice and is grown for its aromatic seeds and young stems with leaves, while sweet fennel is a garden plant for its delicious tubers. This time we are considering the latter, i.e. a vegetable with white, fleshy and ribbed leaves, which together form yellowish-white tubercles. From lush stems it leads to delicate greenery, which, despite its usefulness, is ignored by many. I certainly would not have known this if I had known that the inhabitants of Primorska sell such greens in the spring with wild asparagus in the markets. This fennel, if it is not grown at home, can be bought in stores all year round, but especially its tubers with less greens, which are prepared differently.

Small, raw vegetables can be chopped into a salad, mixed alone or with the herbs mentioned in the introduction into an omelet, and pair well with fish dishes like trout or salmon, as well as risotto, vegetable and fish soups. Of particular interest is pesto from green fennel, pine nuts, salt and olive oil. We use it with seafood, our southwestern neighbors love to add grated Parmesan cheese in the style of Genoa pesto, and such pesto is served – you won’t believe – with grilled meat or meatballs. It certainly works well with the pasta we add to meat dishes, and we can easily enjoy it with pasta. In addition, fennel greens can be added to meat or fish marinades, and bread fillings for roast chicken and steak rolls… Few people may complain about vegetable soups to which fennel greens are added just before the end of cooking. Bread lovers and homemade yeast bakers, who have dramatically improved the national average quality of their loaves and loaves in the past year, know how to knead them into their favorite loaves of bread, and their sweet aroma also goes well with sweet pastries. After all, the legendary anise was named after its closest relative.

You certainly won’t kick your nettle barefoot if you start making pasta according to the legendary Sicilian recipe. Popular local specialties are called Pasta Chi Sardi or even Pasta Ca Monisa. Bon appetit, bon manciata!

Spaghetti with sardines and Sicilian art


Ingredients for 4 people

500 g thick pasta,

300 grams of cleaned sardines,

5 slices of salted anchovies,

1 fennel with greens (300 g),

1 large onion,

1.5 deciliters of white wine (Malvasia),

40 g pine nuts,

45 grams of golden raisins,

pinch of saffron

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds,

35 g breadcrumbs,

0.7 dl of cold pressed olive oil,

sea ​​salt,

Freshly ground pepper.


Prepare


1. Strongly heat the wine in a saucepan, add the washed raisins and saffron, cover and set aside. In a small skillet over 2 tablespoons oil quickly (20 seconds) fry (ground) fennel seeds, add breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, saute a little and set aside. Clean the fennel tuber and onion and cut into small cubes. Chop half of the green fennel seeds and leave half whole. Attach a large pot of salted water. Fry the pine nuts dry.


2. In a large skillet over 3 tablespoons of oil, slowly fry the onion and fennel together to soften (8 minutes). Add the salted fillet and fry, stirring to break it up. Add the raisins along with the wine and saffron and cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add pine nuts and sardine slices and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring, then set aside.


3. Cook spaghetti on the teeth (less than 1 minute instructed), drain and reserve 1 cup of the starchy water from cooking. Add spaghetti to the pan and add a little reserved water. Put the pan back on for a minute, mix the contents and sprinkle until the spaghetti is well combined with the sauce and the excess liquid will evaporate. Drizzle the dish with plenty of oil, sprinkle with chopped vegetables, and stir again by shaking the pan. Sprinkle the juicy dish with the toasted breadcrumbs (save 1 tablespoon) and shake again, spreading evenly over the plates, garnishing with green fennel leaves and the rest of the toasted breadcrumbs and serving.


Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes


Cream of asparagus soup


We need it

5 medium potatoes,

12 washed garden of asparagus,

1 large onion,

one piece of celery tubers,

1 parsley root,

1 cup sour cream,

0.5 deciliter of dry white wine,

0.5 dl of olive oil

sea ​​salt,

Freshly ground pepper.


Prepare

In a large saucepan, fry the chopped onion and the chopped celery or parsley in the olive oil for a few minutes along with the diced potatoes. Add 1 liter of boiling water, scrape the bottom, season and stir until the potatoes are tender. Cut the woody parts of the stem with asparagus, break the stems and fry in olive oil. We pour the wine on the toast and when it boils we put them in the soup. We save a few tops. Puree the soup with a stick blender, blend the cream smoothly, add the reserved tops and serve.


Strawberry Tiramis


We need it

500 grams strawberry

300 grams of mascarpone,

2.5 dl sweet cream

1 tablespoon sugar

2 deciliters of strawberry juice,

1 vanilla bean,

0.3 dl of rum or egg liqueur,

200 grams of Savoyardi biscuits (kids).


Prepare

Washed strawberries cut into slices 3 mm thick. Beat the cream by adding sugar and the contents of the grated vanilla in half. Gently add mascarpone. Soak the biscuits in strawberry juice and add rum or liqueur if desired. Milk cocoa can be used instead of juice. Fold half of the biscuit pieces close together in the form. Put half the cream on it and distribute a quarter of the strawberry. On top of the strawberries again a layer of biscuits and a layer of the remaining cream, and on top of them arrange the strawberries in order. Refrigerate overnight and serve with ice cream.


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