While driving to pick up supplies for the week’s events I could see all the vegetation coming up on the newly ploughed fields. Spring is well on its way, and I must say the dogwoods are looking great too.
One of the plants I remember seeing every spring in New Zealand was fennel. You may be familiar with their fine, feather-like green fronds that I always admired blowing softly in the wind.
The fronds you typically see with poached salmon, but it’s the root ball, or bulb, that looks like a leggy onion, but won’t bring you to tears.
When you finely slice the bright white root it is good to put in salads and soups and it gives you a nice anise or licorice flavor.
Carrot and fennel pureed soup is also nice, hot or cold, and when chilled would be good to serve in the summer on the patio.
Recently I paired it with beets and goat cheese for a new appetizer menu item. Give it a try. New things to eat are always fun.
FENNEL & BEET CROSTINI
1 small bulb fennel, finely sliced
2 large cooked beets, finely sliced
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
8 grilled French bread slices
Place French bread on platter. Mix sliced fennel and beets and season with salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Place on top of the grilled bread. Top with goat cheese. Drizzle with a little vinaigrette dressing.
Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.