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Food Ramblings - Fennel, the sometimes forgotten Spice

Arthur Huxley - 28-07-2017

Fennel - bulb and seeds

If you have enjoyed Absinthe, then the next morning, and depending on the night before, so to speak, you may not wish to discuss Fennel !

As we are all no doubt aware Absinthe is the classic Anise ( Fennnel ) flavoured French Spirit, too powerful to be called a liqueur in the strict definition.

But "morning after" memories soon fade so we will move on to to Fennel the Herb and Fennel seeds the Spice and Fennels abilities with food.

Milder than its cousins, Anise and Star Anise, Fennel is a wonderful flavour enhancer yet aside from the classic Whole Baked Fish on a bed of Fennel it is often the forgotten herb and its seeds the forgotten Spice.

And perhaps not so well known is that the Fennel bulb is equally good raw or as part of a complete, cooked recipe.Try an Antipasto style fresh Fennel, shaved, dipped in a best quality olive oil and served with Mozzarella, Tomato, Kalamata Black Olives and Basil.

Or to show off its cooked abilities the seeds are spectacular in a Risotto, the sweet liquorice flavours working beautifully with Italian Arborio rice and your chosen ingredients.

Another classic for our Pork loving subscribers is wedges of the Fennel bulb, lightly blanched in salted water then covered with Parmesan and baked along with Pork Chops and apple - the Pork Chops nicely coated with Spice Road Spices Bavarian Pork Rub of course !

It's always useful to note how various Herbs and Spices match or compliment each other. For Fennel, Cinnamon, Coriander,Thyme and Parsley all work well together.

And Fennel seeds are terrific sprinkled over roasted vegetables or added to casseroles and are especially good in a potato salad. A chefs trick is to lightly roast the seeds for a more pronounced and "rounder" flavour.

The simplest of recipes with Fennel seeds is to take a whole chicken, lightly coat with olive oil and then cover with roasted Fennel seeds, Sea Salt and Black Pepper.

Bake at around 260 for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 200 and bake for 2 hours, depending on the size of the chicken and your oven. You will have a roasted chicken with a lovely licorice flavour

And you could add a light sprinkle of Thyme, a partner of Fennel, for another flavour dimension.

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