Sunday, August 22, 2010

What I Know About Fennel.....

1. It germinates easily, grows freely, and looks mighty impressive on the plot.

2. Comparatively few people grow it, so be prepared to face a barage of questions such as:
What is it? .....“Fennel”
What does it taste like? .....“Pernod”
Why are you growing it? .....“It looked sexy on the packet”
How do you cook it? .....“Fucked if I know. Look, don’t you have something better to do than standing here like a curious three year old?”

3. It tastes like Pernod. I know I just said that but it’s worth repeating. If you don’t like aniseed it’s probably not the veg for you.

4. Although it romps away (use the thinnings in salads) it’s incredibly hard, if not nearly impossible, to get it to “bulb up” like the commercial varieties in the supermarkets. If you get some fattish but flattish, blade shaped, results, then you should settle for that. Still tastes the same.

5. It goes to seed quickly. Keep an eye on it and harvest before the bulbs start to produce one big central spike, or they get too tough. This tendancy can be counteracted by planting it late, after the longest day, and keeping it well watered.

6. Lightly browned in butter for a few minutes, then simmered in a weak chicken stock for 20 minutes, it’s rather good actually. If you like Pernod of course. It's also good in a stir fry, a rissotto, or grated in salads.

7. It's a powerful diuretic if you eat too much of it. (Remember how freely it grows?) Something you only find out after the event, as they don’t mention that on the packet, or the recipe cards.

………Which is taking the piss if you ask me.


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