Alya discovers Fennel

Here’s a quick post, because I’m trying to get a few things in order today, from the mundane (laundry) to the … less mundane (hitting the library to return some things). Ah but I’m also working on my next major novel feast, so that’s going to take a little creativity. I’m looking forward to this one actually. By the way, Ulysses by James Joyce is not the ideal book to choose to base a dinner on. If you’ve read it, you’ll know why. Suffice it to say I’m not going to be using the book, although it has been an enormous challenge, and I still plan to finish it.

Anyhoo, the title of this post gives it all away, so let’s get to it. I discovered
fennel! Not the seed, which is a common Pakistani/Indian after dinner refresher, especially in a mix with coconut shreds and sugar etc. But no, I speak not of this, I speak of the actual plant, the bulb, the big ol’ part-cabbage-part-onion-looking vegetable that shares none of the taste of either. I have come across recipes in recent past utilizing the plant, but I never saw it anywhere… until a few days ago, when I randomly noticed it at Trader Joes, and then I just had to try it out. Considering I had no clue what to do, I just kept it simple this time around. It didn’t turn out perfect, but I was pleasantly surprised that the husband enjoyed it, and we’ll be experimenting with it later… I already have plans. Sordid plans for the unassuming round bugger.

Roasted Balsamic Fennel

  • 1 fennel bulb, roots cut off and cut into wedges (I only used one because I was
    experimenting only)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • Hot sauce
  • Ground black pepper

Rub olive oil over each wedge, and then do the same with the vinegar. Place on a pan into a preheated oven at 400 degrees, for about 20 minutes. Or longer. I took them out once to flip them over, and then cracked the pepper over each wedge. Upon removal from the oven, I placed them atop a small pile of shredded cheese, then topped them off with some more.

Finally, sprinkled hot sauce on top for the last bit of zing. The taste was very unique; we both were thrown by it. Somewhat sweet (think licorice) but the roasting brings out a more earthy flavor as well, more savory. The only problem was I didn’t roast it long enough because they weren’t soft enough at the base of the fennel petals, so I would recommend maybe steaming them first, or just making sure while roasting that they have softened entirely.

Since this was pretty basic, can I just share what else we dined on that evening? Yeah I think I will, you couldn’t stop me anyway – Alya’s Veggie Medley, tonight featuring red
peppers, zucchini, and potatoes. Simply diced all
the veggies up small and throw them into a frying pan with some olive oil. I boiled the potatoes first ‘til they were almost done so they would cook faster in the pan. Add 3 garlic cloves crushed or finely minced, some salt, turmeric, cayenne pepper and coriander powder. And then just toss and fry, toss and fry.

Let it all sauté till the zucchini bits get slightly translucent, your
peppers are tender, and the potatoes have a nice crunch outside but are super soft inside.

Yumdiddlyumptious. Although I had meant to add cumin but I forgot. So by all means, use whatever spices you enjoy.

Ok off to finish my tasks!


One comment

  1. Hey Alya. Didn’t know you were so much into cooking. What can i say? Gautham got lucky, he he. Good stuff though girl. You seem to be quite interested and good in it. Neat stuff. Maybe now i need to plan a trip soon, to some finger-licking delicacies 🙂 Cheers!

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