Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Making friends with fennel

I’m never very confident about cooking with fennel. It is something I see in recipes quite often and am intrigued by. It is a vegetable I feel I should love but can’t quite come around to it. Nevertheless, every now and again I try.

I recently came across the PCC (Puget Consumers Co-op) website which has some great veg recipes. I found an interesting recipe for White Bean and Roasted Fennel Salad with Honey Miso Dressing from Ken Charney’s cookbook, The Bold Vegetarian Chef.

The recipe asked for one large fennel bulb but coming home via the supermarket after work meant I had two ratty baby fennel bulbs to choose from, so I felt I needed more veg. I always need more veg.

I served the salad with some steamed broccoli – the beans were a bit overwhelming but otherwise I found it most delicious. The aniseedy taste of the fennel was nicely complemented by the comforting blandness of potato and the red capsicum gave a lovely splash of red with a tart but slightly sweet sauce that needed lots of pepper. So I have halved the beans but otherwise written out the recipe as my take on Ken’s.

White bean and vegetable salad with a splash of red
Adapted from a recipe by Ken Charney
Serves 2 (as main dish)

1 baby fennel bulb, trimmed and diced, leaves reserved
2 small potatoes, diced
1 red capsicum, cut into chunks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 head of garlic, cloves separated but kept in the skin
1 tablespoons olive oil
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
225g tin cooked white beans (cannellini or navy)
½ punnet (100g) grape tomatoes, halved

Honey-miso dressing:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoons white miso

Preheat the oven to 230°F. In a roasting pan, toss fennel, potato, capsicum, red onion, salt and oil. Roast in oven. After 20 minutes add garlic. Roast a further 20-40 mins until vegetables are cooked through.

While vegetables are roasting, place all the honey miso dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

When vegetables are cooked skin and slice the garlic. Mix honey miso dressing with remainder of ingredients. Adjust seasoning.

Garnish with reserved fennel leaves. Ken suggests you leave salad an hour and let flavours develop – sounds like a good idea if you aren’t starving after work. My suggestion is to serve as a main meal with green veg, such as steamed broccoli, steamed brussell sprouts or grilled/roasted zucchini.

On the Stereo:
Part two – the endless not – by Throbbing Gristle


  1. Hi! Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting! I am still a bit of a newbie at blogging myself and I am more than happy to see a new veggie blog! I love the vampire cake you made for your partner…it’s so cool! And he is Scottish?! That’s even more cool ;) I only recently began eating fennel after using it in Moroccan Chickpea Patties from Vive Le Vegan! They are so tasty…if you have the book you should try them! Looking forward to reading much more of your blog in the future :)

  2. thanks scottishvegan - I am new to blogging and am excited to see so much interesting veg stuff in the blogosphere. I was excited by your blog - it is weird there are so many US and Oz veg blogs but not many UK ones (or am I just missing something?) - because I felt like it is a connection with Scotland which I miss (although I love being in Australia near my family and having lots of nice fresh veg here). I don't have Vive Le Vegan but am noticing a lot of references to it in the blogosphere so maybe one day...


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