eat in my kitchen

To cook, to bake, to eat and to treat.

Tag: fennel

Salmon with a Green Pepper, Coriander and Fennel Crust

Salmon with Spice Crust

Last week’s visit to Reims and the delicious seafood I enjoyed during my short stay in France inspired me to cook fish again. I went to the market and spotted a nice fillet of salmon and my decision was made! It looked firm, nice in colour and it smelled fresh like the sea. I like salmon in combination with aromatic flavours, in January I wrote about my salmon with wintery spices baked in the oven, with bay leaf, juniper and cloves. I just restocked the jars of my spice box, my fennel and coriander empty within weeks, I’m often surprised how quickly! When I go to the market to buy spices I always take an extra few minutes to look around at what’s on offer. All the little bags and boxes filled with precious powders, berries, herbs from far away countries, so many different smells and colours, it’s a sensual journey to another world! I always buy more than there is on my list, this time a package of green peppercorns came home with me unexpectedly. Green pepper berries are picked before they are ripe, they have a strong spiciness like black pepper but very aromatic, a bit flowery.

My pick was a good choice as I wanted to pack a thick crust of coarse spices on my salmon again, this time it’s green pepper, coriander and fennel. Not a hint of spices, more of an attack, but the fish can handle that. Even more so, it was delicious. First, I thought I went a bit overboard with the spicy pepper but after the first bite I was happy I did. To prevent the crust from falling off I glazed the fish with an egg on the fleshy side, it didn’t effect the taste but kept the spices where they should be.

For 2 I had a 300g / 10.5 ounces fillet of salmon, brushed with 1 mixed egg (just on the fleshy side) and covered with a mixture of  green peppercorns, fennel seeds and coriander (1 tablespoon of each), crushed coarsely in a mortar, and some salt. I fried the fish in a large pan in olive oil, 5 minutes on each side on medium heat, the skin side first before I flipped it around and added some more oil, carefully so that the crust wouldn’t fall off. We just had  some slices of baguette and a salad on the side, my favourites with fish, apart from a glass of white wine.

Salmon with Spice Crust

 

Salmon with Spice Crust

Spaghetti with Crisp Bacon, Tomatoes and Fennel Seeds

Bacon Fennel Tomato Pasta

A fruity tomato sauce with spaghetti together with a glass of red wine can never go wrong. To add some crisp bacon and fennel seeds makes it even better! I don’t even remember all the different variations on tomato sauces I’ve made in my life but this one is really good, and quick to prepare. For days I’ve been wanting to make a Sauce Bolognese but I never found the time as it needs to cook for an hour. This one here is meaty as well but only needs 10 minutes on the cooker. The bacon (I used lots of it!) makes it hearty and the aromatic spice adds a Mediterranean touch to it.

For 2 people I used 100g / 3.5 ounces of bacon, cut into little cubes and fried until golden and crunchy. I fried 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds, 2 cloves of garlic (crushed) and 1 small dried chili together with the meat for about 2 minutes before I added 400g / 14 ounces of tinned tomatoes (crushed), 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper. The sauce simmered on medium temperature for 8 minutes while the spaghetti (200g / 7 ounces ) cooked in lots of salted water until they were al dente.

If you prefer a vegetarian sauce just leave out the bacon and add a bit more olive oil to fry the fennel seeds, I make that sometimes and it’s great, too.

Bacon Fennel Tomato Pasta

 

Bacon Fennel Tomato Pasta

Homemade Sausage with Herbs and Spices and Baked Fennel with Parmesan

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

Our last visitors from Malta brought some of my favourite sausages along, coarse Maltese pork sausage stuffed with lots of spices and garlic. The kind that you can use to spice up a whole pot of soup. When it comes to sausage that’s exactly what I like! When I’m in Malta I fry them for breakfast without their skin and cut in half, like a burger, some fried zucchini (qarabaghli in Maltese) on the side and and I’m prepared for a day on the beach.

The gift from Malta inspired me to make my own sausages, but without skin from the start. I make mine like burgers without egg and bread (apart from a tablespoon of breadcrumbs) and with pork and beef unlike the original. Most importantly they are enhanced with plenty of rosemary, parsley, coriander and fennel seeds (luckily I still have some left from Malta to keep it even more authentic) and my coarse sea salt from Mr. Cini’s salt pans in Gozo, Malta’s sister island. Spices and salt from other parts of the world will work as well, I just like to add the nice memories and to me, they taste best. As fennel already has such an importance in this meal I add the bulbs as well, baked in the oven with onions, garlic and parmesan. It’s the right addition to my Mediterranean sausages which I fry first before I deglaze them with a splash of white wine. This makes a thick sauce of juices, delicious together with the meat and the vegetable.

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

Homemade Sausage with Herbs and Spices and Baked Fennel with Parmesan

This makes a dinner for 3-4.

For the sausage

minced beef 300g / 10.5 ounces
minced pork 300g / 10.5 ounces
breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon
parsley, chopped, a medium bunch
fresh rosemary, chopped roughly, 1 teaspoon
coriander seeds, ground in a mortar, 1 tablespoon
fennel seeds, ground in a mortar, 3/4 tablespoon
black pepper, ground in a mortar (coarsely), 1 tablespoon
garlic, crushed, 2 big cloves
coarse sea salt 1 1/2 teaspoons
white wine for deglazing
olive oil for frying

Mix the ingredients well and shape thick sausages. Heat some olive oil in a large cast iron (or heavy) pan and fry the sausages on medium heat until all sides are golden brown. Deglaze the sausages with a splash of wine  so that the bottom of your pan is covered, the liquid shouldn’t evaporate completely. Turn down the heat, scrape the juices off and close the pan with a lid for 1-2 minutes until the sausages are done inside.

 

For the baked fennel

big bulbs of fennel, quartered and blanched together with 1/2 lemon for 8 minutes, 2 bulbs
(keep the green of the fennel bulbs uncooked and chopped for topping)
medium onions, chopped, 2
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
olive oil
fresh parmesan, grated, 3 tablespoons (you can add more if you like)
salt and black pepper

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (I used the Rotitherm roasting setting) and brush a medium sized baking dish with olive oil.

Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil on medium heat until golden brown.

Put the fennel in the baking dish and sprinkle with olive oil and the green of the fennel. Season with salt and pepper, add the fried onions and garlic and cover with parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and crisp.

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

 

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

 

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

Buttery Crisp Fennel Tart

Fennel Tart

A tart, a quiche, a pie, call it whatever you like, anything that involves buttery short crust is heavenly food to me. I’m the happiest person in the world when I have one of these in my oven, filling the air with that buttery smell, teasing me as I can’t wait to have the first bite in my mouth. Most of the time I use my all time favourite Quiche crust recipe for any kind of savory tart or Quiche. I wrote about that recipe in December. It has been with me for nearly twenty years and I never found a better one. It’s crisp, it’s buttery, yet still light. Just perfect!

If you follow eat in my kitchen you’ll find that I tend to buy too much of this and that (I’m talking about food). This time it’s fennel, three bulbs! I never throw any food away, I use everything I buy, but I become too excited when I see all the nice food at the market and a million things come into my mind that I’d like to cook with them. So I buy whatever arouses my appetite. Sometimes, my fridge just reaches its limits.

I haven’t made a tart in a while so I will use the fennel for the filling, mixed with Parmesan, a few eggs, milk and cream, and the buttery smell can take over my flat!

Fennel Tart

Fennel Tart

For one tart you need a round (27cm / 10.5″) or oval baking dish or tart pan.

For the short crust base

flour 250g / 8.5 ounces
I use spelt flour type 630 (but you can use any other plain flour)
butter, cold 125g / 4.5 ounces
organic egg 1
salt 1 teaspoon

Combine the flour with the salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and work the butter into the flour until combined (there shouldn’t be any lumps of butter left). Add the egg and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

For the filling

fennel, cut in half and sliced thinly, 400g / 14 ounces
organic eggs 2
milk 100 ml
heavy cream 100 ml
Parmesan, grated, 2 heaped tablespoons
salt 1 teaspoon
black pepper
nutmeg, freshly grated

The tart

Set your oven to 210°C / 410°F.

Fry the fennel in a little oil for 5 minutes until golden.

Mix the eggs with the milk, heavy cream, Parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Roll out the dough between cling film and line your baking dish with the flat pastry. Prick it with a fork and blind-bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes.  Take your baking dish out of the oven and set the temperature down to 180°C / 355°F.

Spread the fried fennel on top of the pre-baked pastry base and pour the liquid mixture over. Put the tart carefully on a baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden, the top should be firm. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

Fennel Tart

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

It’s time for soup! The colder it gets the more I feel like food that is up-lefting and soul-warming. Something that makes me feel strong and prepares me for the cold, dark months ahead of me. Although I love winter, the snow, even the cold, when you get cosy inside, slow down and relax, it’s important to treat yourself to the right food to renew your body and mind.

I’m in the mood for a thick soup, smooth but light – like my Minestrone with big butter beans and fennel with some parsley and black olives sprinkled on top. The texture is velvety and it tastes a bit sweet. Today I add a piece of bacon to it as I feel like something deeper in taste. Usually I cook the vegetarian version, I don’t prefer one over the other, both are nice winter treats!

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Keep in mind that you have to soak the dried beans in water overnight. I like to cook soups in bigger batches to store some in the freezer – great for busy days. This recipe is for 4 people, sometimes I even double the amount.

dried butter beans or Cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight, 250g / 9 ounces
fennel, rinsed, cut in thin slices, 300g / 10.5 ounces
celery stalk, cut in cubes, 1
onion, cut in cubes, 1
broth or water, around 1500 ml
optional: a piece of bacon, 40g / 1.5 ounces
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
bay leaf, 1
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying
parsley, chopped, for topping, 2 tablespoons
black olives, chopped, for topping, 4
good olive oil for topping

Heat some oil in a large pot. Fry the onion, celery, garlic and bacon (left in one piece) for a few minutes. Add the fennel, take the beans out of the water and put them into the pot as well. Fill with broth, add the bay leaf and close with a lid. Don’t season with salt before the beans are done or they won’t become soft. Cook for 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. Depending on the bean’s texture it may take another 30 minutes. Mine needed 60 minutes today but I must admit that I found them in a dark corner of my shelf.

When the beans are done, take out half of the vegetables (cooked beans and fennel) and put them to the side. Mix the other half of the vegetables together with the liquid in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Put everything back into the pot together with the remaining vegetables. When you arrange the soup in soup bowls sprinkle with olives and parsley and drizzle your best olive oil on top.

Fennel Carpaccio with Caper and Lemon

Fennel Carpaccio with Caper and Lemon

Two days left in 2013 – an easy and comfy lunch is in order to lean and look back on the past months. I feel like a quick carpaccio with fennel, caper and lemon, fresh and light, the right foundation for an honest review of an exciting and inspiring year – and the start of eat in my kitchen!

My mother told me about this vegetarian carpaccio which she enjoyed at a restaurant in Italy, so much that it became part of her – and my – recipe collection. Sometimes she is so excited by her food discoveries that she calls me immediately after she ate to tell me about her find. She knows that I love fennel and caper –  a perfect match together with lemon and olive oil. I can get good quality fennel all year round therefore I cook with it quite often. As much as I love this carpaccio as a quick lunch because it’s so easy to prepare, it makes a beautiful, light starter as well.

As a starter for 4, cut 1 fennel bulb in very thin slices and arrange them on plates. Add 6-10 capers on each plate, mine are salted so I have to rinse them first. Drizzle some olive oil and fresh lemon juice on top and season with salt and pepper. It only takes a couple minutes.

Fennel Carpaccio with Caper and Lemon

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: