Simple Creamy Fennel Salad

This salad happened by default as I came home from food shopping without the cucumber that was on my list. I wanted to make a creamy mizeria, a Polish cucumber salad that is so easy, just blended with sour cream and dill, that goes just great with fish dishes. I love this salad, it’s cool and refreshing. But here I was making baked cod in the oven and was craving that creaminess that goes so well with fish. So I looked into the fridge, hoping to find a sad cucumber somewhere but no…a fennel bulb stared back at me…and it made a great stand in for the salad. It was creamy, bright and delicious. I will surely be making it again and I hope you give it a try! Enjoy!

  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced and then roughly chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 heaping tablespoons sour cream
  • sea salt

Combine everything in one bowl, while you do a happy dance, as this is done in no time. ;) Season to taste and garnish with those pretty fennel fronds and include some in your salad too. Serves about 2-4.

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The Great Gravlax Experiment II: Fennel & Lemon

I admit, I’m obsessed and wanted to give it another whirl. I had some fennel tops in the fridge, thinking I would use them either in a soup or stew and then I thought why not use it to make gravlax? And it came out pretty good. I think juicing a lemon onto the fish, was a little bit of a mistake, even though, it did come out good. It added the slightest hint of bitterness. The slightest hint of bitterness. But it was still good…Really good, and the obsession continues…Enjoy!
DSC05160The ingredients:

  • 1 salmon portion, a pound, closest to the head
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • fennel tops
  • 1/4 cup cucumber vodka
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • freshly ground course black pepper

Combine the salt and the sugar. And slice up those fennel tops into thin slices along with that lemon.

DSC05134In a non-reactive container, layer the fennel slices, half of the salt mixture, ground pepper and half of the lemon slices. Top with the salmon, skin side down. Begin layering again, topping with the salt mixture, the lemon slices, fennel slices and the black pepper. Pour the vodka over the fish and around it. Wrap with plastic wrap a few times and apply a weight to it. Using a smaller dish with a weight in it is good or even a brown bag with the weights on that, is good too. Place in the fridge and wait 24 hours. After 24 hours, onto a dish, place what is on top of the fish and flip the fish over and cover with what was removed. (This is the part that I juiced in a lemon…not the best idea. Ignore that I even mentioned it. lol) Replace the plastic and weights and back into the fridge it goes for another 24 hours. It was about six on Saturday night and I flipped it again and had it the next morning…with flax crispbread, capers and mustard. Oh what a nice Sunday morning…

Start on a Thursday night to enjoy on Sunday morning…

Cleansing Fennel Salad

This is so simple it’s almost embarrassing to share but it’s such a helpful recipe whenever you have an upset stomach or heartburn. I had some heartburn last night and I had about a cup of this simple salad and I almost immediately felt better. This isn’t a salad for everyone’s palate as it is tart and full of that signature fennel flavor. It’s nice added to a salad or if you are a fennel lover, served alongside roasted salmon or chicken.

  • 1 fennel bulb with some fennel fronds reserved along with a fennel frond branch for garnish
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • sea salt to taste
  • a generous drizzle of olive oil

Begin by trimming up your fennel, using just the bottom portion. Quarter the bulb and slice using a mandoline slicer on the thinnest setting. (Be careful as mandolines are one of those therapeutic kitchen tools that once you get into the rhythm of it, you kind of forget how it can do some damage to those pretty fingers of yours.) Add in the lemon juice, fennel fronds, sea salt and olive oil. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Garnish with the fennel frond branch. Serves about 3-4 or if you need some major cleansing, 1. Enjoy!

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Grilled Whiting with Fennel & Pomegranate Seeds

So I’ve been trying to eat more healthy and I made this over the weekend and it was so good. And really nice for company, at the same time. It’s a fun yet rustic dish. Serve with the sauteed fennel on the side along with a whole pomegranate broken up so everyone can top their fennel as they like. Serve with a green salad topped with a little goat cheese and black olives to complete the meal. Enjoy!

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  • 4 whole whiting, the insides cleaned
  • 1 whole fennel, halved, quartered and thinly sliced
  • a generous tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 1 pomegranate, broken up
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

Start off by oiling and salting the fish and place in a fish grilling grate. Heat the grill to about 450 degrees. Once at the ideal temperature, grill for about ten minutes per each side. While the fish is grilling, make your side of fennel and pomegranate seeds. Melt the butter in a pan and add in the fennel, lightly salt and allow the fennel to lightly brown. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Set aside. Shake out some pomegranate seeds and set aside in a small bowl for your guests that aren’t in the mood for digging out their own seeds. Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer.

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Red Leaf Lettuce, Fennel, Bacon & Egg Breakfast Salad

Breakfast salad? I know what you are thinking but on those really hot mornings where it was about ninety degrees at ten in the morning, it was just what made sense. Craving cool lettuce with salty and smoky bacon, I added fennel for an extra special touch along with an over easy egg and this is one breakfast salad that I’m going to make again, real soon. Maybe even for dinner next time. Enjoy!

  • a few red leaf lettuce leaves, about 2 cups chopped
  • 1 head of fennel, thinly sliced about 2 cups
  • a tablespoon finely chopped fennel fronds with some reserved as a garnish
  • 2 slices bacon, thinly sliced, and cooked until desired doneness1 egg cooked over easy
  • 1 tablespoon julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, cooked how you like

Whisk the sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice together, season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Adjust the seasonings accordingly and set aside. Combine the lettuce, fennel, (using a mandoline speeds up the slicing process tremendously. I don’t know what I did without it.) the fennel fronds, bacon and dressing right before serving. Top with the egg and garnish with the fennel fronds. Serves 1.

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Calamari with Fennel in a Saffron Tomato Broth

It’s the most enjoyed time of year for food lovers. As my husband came home the other day, with all of these goodies that aren’t usually in the house, I couldn’t help but feeling like a child opening up gifts on Christmas day, as I unwrapped cheese pastries, gingerbread, poppy seed breads and a variety of kielbasas. Foods that aren’t usually had, enjoyed (really enjoyed) and now the time comes, (sigh) the guilt of over indulgence. And to remedy it, a light, yet flavorful dinner is needed. Fennel is a great vegetable, flavorful, light and combining it with seafood makes an equally flavorful meal. But…if you are still indulging, lol, top with a little cream and it’s a symphony of flavors, nice enough for a small impromptu party. Enjoy!

  • 1 pound squid tentacles
  • 3/4 cup minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into small slices
  • reserved fennel fronds for garnish
  • 6 Campari tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • pinch saffron threads
  • pinch annatto
  • pinch smoked paprika
  • pinch fennel seeds, crushed and chopped
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • pinch Vegeta seasoning or any all-purpose seasoning

In a heavy bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven, combine the olive oil, butter and shallot. Saute on low heat, until softened about 10 minutes. Add in the fennel bulb, very little salt, pepper, saffron, annato, smoked paprika and fennel seeds and give it a good stir. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste and water and let it simmer on low for 20 minutes until the tomato has broken down, stirring occasionally. Add in the calamari and cook for a few minutes, until the calamari is opaque and firm. Adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and Vegeta. Serve with a small shaped pasta, rice, grits or even smooth and creamy mashed potatoes would be a nice side dish. Top with fennel fronds. Serves 4.