May 09, 2005

Fennel is the next big thing

In my kitchen, anyway. I enjoy the odd food jag, and I’ve been between frenzies of late. It started with Molly’s recipe on Orangette for Carrot & Fennel Soup. Not only was the soup delicious (and easy to make), it froze well and reheated fabulously for a lazy Sunday lunch when you dare not brave the Mother's Day frenzy of brunch.

When I was shopping for the ingredients for the soup, I noticed how lovely the fennel bulbs in the store looked. Smooth and white, clean and fresh – begging to be shaved raw into a salad, braised and whirred into a puree, or sliced and roasted and tossed with linguini, fennel seed, chile flakes, halved cherry tomatoes, and cubes of fontina.

That last one, the pasta dish, may very well be dinner tonight. I haven’t made it in ages, but it was very popular the few times that I did. If I remember correctly, the original dish called for some sort of bacon or prosciutto, but I’ve got some ham to use up, so tiny cubes of sautéed ham it will be. There’s also a few black olives languishing from the Cinco de Mayo potluck, and they might go in, too. A little crushed garlic, a little good quality olive oil… dinner’s looking pretty easy, and pretty tasty.

I’m also eyeing a purely fennel soup recipe from one of the Australian Women’s Weekly collections (I think it’s the Fruit & Vegetables cookbook). I suspect it will freeze well, and I’m leaning favourably toward Sunday lunches like yesterday’s – a little soup from the freezer, some good bread, various cheeses and pickles. It feels so very much like home.

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