Fennel is as versatile as it is tasty. Vegetable, herb, or spice, it can be all three depending on the preparation. Chock full of nutrition, fennel’s a great source of magnesium and potassium. It’s also packed with antioxidants like Vitamin C and beta carotene – our hearts especially love this! Our skin loves it, too. On the inside, these antioxidants stimulate collagen. Used topically, fennel tones and cleanses.
Raw fennel smells and tastes a lot like anise or black licorice. It’s a delicious complement to freshly squeezed orange juice (throw a bulb into the juicer, trust us!). If black licorice isn’t your thing, here’s a tip: cooked fennel loses its intensity and becomes much sweeter. In our pasta recipe below, kale adds a touch of bitterness that’s perfect with sweet fennel, and the lemon juice brings an extra zing that brightens the entire dish. We’re also sharing one of our favorites from Gourmet Magazine that showcases the fennel trifecta of bulbs, fronds, and seed.
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Here’s what our team has on tap for members this week – bon appetit!
Frog Song Organics
Fingerling Sweet Potatoes
Little Pond Farm
Pasta with Fennel, Kale, and Lemon adapted from abeautifulplate.com
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ large red onion thinly sliced
- 2 fennel bulbs, tough outer layer removed and fronds reserved thinly sliced
- 3 large garlic cloves finely slivered
- 2-3 large pinches red pepper flakes
- 1 large bunch of kale (tough stems discard and leaves roughly chopped)
- juice of one lemon
- 10 ounces spinach fettuccine or pasta of choice
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes, or until the onions are beginning to soften.
- Turn up the heat to medium, add the sliced fennel, and saute gently for an additional 6 to 8 minutes or until the fennel is tender and slightly caramelized. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another minute or two. Turn off the heat.
- When the fennel is almost cooked, add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente, adding the kale to the pasta pot about 2 to 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking.
- Drain the pasta (reserving ½ cup of the starchy cooking water) and greens thoroughly and toss with the onion and fennel mixture in the pan – adding pasta water if necessary. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Drizzle each serving with chili oil, fennel fronds, and lots of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese. FSO tip: make your own chili pepper oil by lightly heating a cup of olive oil with one tablespoon red pepper flakes.
Sausage, Lentils, & Rainbow Carrots w/ Fennel (a fennel trifecta!) – adapted from Gourmet Magazine
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 4 1/2 cups cold water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 medium fennel bulb, stalks discarded, reserving fronds
- 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 diced rainbow carrots
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3 Frog Song Chorizo links or sweet Italian sausages
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, or to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional)
- Bring the lentils, water, and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are just tender, about 15 minutes (check at 15 minutes and simmer a bit longer if they’re not fully yet cooked.) You want them to be tender, but not falling apart. When they’re tender, drain them in a colander but reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
- While the lentils simmer, dice the fennel bulb into 1/4-inch pieces, and chop 2 tbsp of the fennel fronds. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot, then add the onion, carrot, fennel seed, fennel bulb, and remaining 1 tsp salt. Saute the vegetables until they’re tender, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the Frog Song chorizo or sausages in a separate pan in the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat until they’re golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and let them rest for about 10 minutes.
- When the vegetables and sausage are cooked, stir the lentils into the vegetables (adding some of the reserved cooking water if it looks too dry) and warm them over medium heat until heated through. Stir in the parsley, pepper, 1 tbsp vinegar, and 1 tbsp fennel fronds. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper if needed.
- Slice the chorizo on the diagonal. Divide the lentils among 4 plates, mounding them slightly. Arrange the slices of sausage over the lentils, and garnish with the additional tablespoon reserved fennel fronds and a drizzle of olive oil.
Caramelized Tokyo Turnips
- 1 bunch Tokyo turnips
- 2 tbsp butter
- Wash turnips by scrubbing any dark or discolored areas. No need to peel these skin tender morsels. Cut them in half, top to bottom.
- In a skillet large enough to hold all of your turnips cut-side-down add about ¼” of water and set on a medium high heat burner. When the water begins to simmer, cover and reduce heat to medium.
- Simmer for 5 minutes, remove the cover and dot two tablespoons of butter into simmering turnips.
- Raise the flame again to medium high and allow the water to boil off and the butterfat to begin caramelizing the turnips.
- Check the cut side of one turnip for browning. When the turnips have a golden-brown cut side, use tongs to stir and coat the outside in brown butter. Check for doneness by piercing a turnip with a paring knife tip. They should be tender but not soft, a little “tooth” in the bite. Serve at once.
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