CSA Week Three: Face-To-Face With Fennel

July 8, 2012 § 6 Comments

The haul:
fennel bulb with stems and fronds
beets with greens
purple kale
red lettuce
snap peas
yellow squash
blueberries

One of the many benefits of a CSA (or shopping at farmers’ markets in general), you know what your food actually looks like. I had never seen fennel fronds before! Whatever shall I do?

Fennel Frond Hazelnut Pesto
I got the basic recipe from Recipe, Interrupted and Melissa Clark.

My fennel was super leafy so I had about three loosely packed cups of fronds. I used three small to medium cloves of garlic, 3/4 cup grated parmesan loosely packed, and about 5/8 cup of olive oil. I didn’t have any pine nuts and they are really expensive, but I did have the best-hazelnuts-ever Mom sends me in care packages so I used about half a cup of those.

  • Chop nuts, garlic, cheese, and oil in a food processor.
  • Add coarsely chopped fennel fronds.
  • Add kosher salt and pepper to taste, and maybe a splash of lemon juice.
  • Freeze in an ice cube tray whatever you don’t immediately scoop up with bread (or eat for dinner that night).

As you can tell from the immediate bread-scooping, this turned out really well! The fennel flavor was very mild so I would consider using even less oil and nuts next time. I put it on homemade sweet potato gnocchi with the leftover potatoes from the aloo matar last week.

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Beet-Fennel Salad
For the bulb, I made a simple slaw (or salade composée if I am being fancy, which I always am) with:

  • one small thinly sliced fennel bulb (save the stems for stock)
  • three washed but not peeled raw beets, grated
  • juice and zest of one orange, plus a splash of lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • thyme from my enthusiastic little bush in the garden

Toss. Eat. I forgot to take a picture, but it looked like you might imagine: magenta. Tasty for dinner on a night when it was too hot to cook.

The yellow squash from this week and the rest of last week’s zucchini got stir-fried in a little sesame oil for a Korean-style rice bowl with kalbi beef and stir-fried snowpeas from the garden. The key component is gochujang, the bright red hot pepper sauce. Not shown in this picture: purple aka shiso leaves (a.k.a. red perilla). Rainbow dinner!

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