I’ll start of by saying, and risking massive amounts of hate-mail, that I hate, no, despise, rye. My dislike of rye is so intense, that I have spent countless hours avoiding any seed even remotely resembling rye in shape or smell. To this day, I refuse to eat or even allow past my doorstep, the cumin seed, although I sprinkle cumin into practically every Mexican and Indian dish. Fennel has been another offender by shape and even smell. I didn’t even give it a try. I went as far as alienating myself from all “anise” scented concoctions including, ouzo and licorice.
Then I met C. C. loves fennel. One day she made her roasted root vegetable salad with beets, apples, and … fennel bulb. I didn’t want to be rude, so out of courtesy I tried it.
And I was enlightened. Fennel bulb is delicious! When roasted, it becomes soft, but not slimy like onion can tend to become. It’s slightly nutty and sweet, and the smell is beautiful and fresh, not overpowering and nauseating like many anise scents. I admit, I was wrong. And the following will demonstrate how much I have grown since then…
I bought an organic fennel bulb yesterday. I wish I had taken a picture of it. It was beautiful. I wish I could have bottled it’s scent and shared it with you, dear readers, because it was so sweet and exotic and fresh. Instead, I diced it up with some ‘taters, tossed it with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted it. Yes, I roasted something at 400F while it’s 100F outside. Call me crazy. I prefer ‘inspired’.
The resulting meal was fabulous. I ate it up with my first attempt at BBQ tempeh. The BBQ sauce was fantastic, but the tempeh wasn’t quite right. I won’t post it yet, as I think the recipe needs some revising. I’m thinking I should bake it rather than fry it on the skillet. Any ideas?
Hope you guys enjoy this totally Tucson weather inappropriate meal :).
Roasted Fennel and Potato Salad
1 fennel bulb, cut into bite size chunks
2 large potatoes, cubed (not peeled – “that’s where all the vitamins live!”)
a nice drizzle of olive oil to coat the potatoes and fennel
salt and pepper to taste
fennel greens (look like dill) – to taste, I added about 1/2 Tbsp
Preheat over to 400F.
Toss fennel and potatoes in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss into oven. Cook until potatoes are soft, rotating a couple times to make sure the sides are evenly browned.
Throw into a bowl, toss with chopped fennel greens and serve immediately. It’s also good cold.