Recipes

Beet, Fennel + Apple Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 fennel bulb, green parts discarded, white parts diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
coarse sea salt
3 medium beets, peeled and roughly chopped
2 small apples, peeled and roughly chopped
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot set over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, and garlic along with a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring now and then, until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the beets and apples to the pot and pour in the stock. Turn the heat to high, bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat down and let the soup simmer until the beets and apples are completely soft, 30 to 35 minutes. Carefully puree the soup in a powerful blender and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Source: It's All Good - Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

ESCAROLE AND WHITE BEAN SALAD WITH FENNEL AND GRUYERE CHEESE

1/2 cup small dry white beans
1/4 teaspoon salt Mustard Vinaigrette (see below)
1 tablespoon green onions chives, thinly sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
1 small fennel bulb or several celery stalks, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
3 ounces Gruyere cheese, cut into julienne
Pepper
6 handfuls (about 12 cups) escarole leaves
2 tablespoons butter 2 slices rye bread or Country French Bread, cut into cubes for croutons

Sort through the beans and rinse them well. Cover them with boiling water and let them soak for 1 hour; then pour off the soaking liquid. Cover them generously with fresh water, bring them to a boil, add the salt, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender but still hold their shape, 45 minutes or longer, as needed. Drain, and save the liquid to use in a soup stock. While the beans are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. When the beans have cooled down so that they are warm but no longer hot, toss them with half the vinaigrette and the herbs, fennel and cheese. Season to taste with salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper, and set aside. Prepare the greens. Use the pale inner leaves of the escarole, torn or cut into pieces; tear or slice the radicchio into smaller pieces. Wash the greens carefully, giving special attention to the bases of the escarole leaves, which often hold a lot of silt. Spin them dry and if they are not to be used right away, wrap them in a kitchen towel and store them in the refrigerator. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the bread cubes, and toss them well. Fry them over low heat until they are brown and crisp all over, shaking the pan every so often so they don't burn. To assemble the salad, toss the greens with the remaining vinaigrette; then add the beans and the croutons and toss again. Arrange the salad in a shallow, flat bowl with the beans distributed evenly among the greens.

Mustard Vinaigrette

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream (or plain soy yogurt)
6 tablespoons virgin olive oil

Grind the tarragon and the fennel seeds with a pestle to bruise them and partially break them up. Put them in a bowl with the vinegar, salt, mustard, and creme fraiche or sour cream, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the olive oil vigorously until the ingredients are completely amalgamated into a thick sauce. The dressing will be very strong.

Adapted from The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison with Edward Espe Brown

FENNEL WITH OLIVE OIL & PARMESAN

2 fennel bulbs, stems removed (save a few fennel leaves for garnish)
bouquet garni: 3" piece of celery tied with thyme, parsley and a bay leaf
2 quarts water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the fennel bulbs and the bouquet garni. Cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until tender but still crisp. Drain and allow to cool. Gently squeeze the bulbs to remove excess water. Cut the bulbs in half lengthwise and arrange them in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the olive oil, cheese, salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes. Transfer the fennel to a serving platter. Garnish with the fennel fronds which you can cut finely over the dish with scissors.

BRAISED FENNEL

1 large fennel bulb or 2 small bulbs 
2 tablespoons butter 
1 small clove garlic, whole 
1/2 teaspoon thyme 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1/4 cup dry white wine, optional 
Water and/or chicken stock, to cover 

Trim stalks flush with fennel bulb and cut each bulb lengthwise into quarters, or halves, if using small bulbs. In a heavy saucepan large enough to hold the fennel flat in one layer, melt 1 tablespoon butter over moderate heat. Add fennel garlic, thyme, and toss to coat with butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add wine, if using, and chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Braise for 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in remaining tablespoon butter and salt and pepper, to taste.

FENNEL MASHED POTATOES

2 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes
1 1/2 pounds fennel bulbs including fronds (about 2 medium)
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 

Peel and quarter potatoes. In a kettle cover potatoes with salted cold water by 2 inches and simmer until very tender, about 30 minutes. While potatoes are simmering, trim fennel stalks flush with bulbs, reserving fronds and discarding stalks. Halve bulb and discard core. Cut bulbs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Chop reserved fronds and in a large saucepan poach sliced fennel and three fourths fronds in milk at a bare simmer, covered, until very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander and transfer to a large bowl. In a blender (or using hand-held whizzer) purée fennel mixture until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Add fennel purée to potatoes and mash with a potato masher. Season potatoes with salt and pepper. Potatoes may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat potatoes, covered, in a 350°F. oven about 30 minutes. Serve potatoes drizzled with oil and sprinkled with remaining fennel fronds.