In last week’s garden post, I mentioned Matthew’s biodiversity micro-grant award to grow celeriac and paw paws. However, he actually proposed growing three items, not two, with fennel being the third item.
Poor little fennel felt a bit left out after my omission, so today he’s getting his very own post.
If you’ve bought fennel at the grocery store, you probably got something that looked like this:
Mostly bulb, some stalk, and perhaps a spattering of feathery fronds.
Like a lot of supermarket produce, it looks rather different than the straight-from-the-garden version:
See all the featheriness on top? The fronds do not keep nearly as well as the bulb, hence the missing top half on most grocery store fennel.
Though this year’s crop is nowhere near that size, we harvested a couple of bulbs for early eating (also making room for the remaining plants to grow larger). After roasting the bulb, we were left with a lot of fronds, which, I’ll admit, sat in the fridge for quite a few days.
They were at the “use it or toss it to make room for other things” stage. In Stacy’s recent post about CSA membership, the discussion turned to how to use everything that’s part of the weekly produce delivery.
I hate to waste food, so I chopped the fennel fronds and created a twist on the traditional basil pesto. If you’re lucky enough to pick up a fresh, locally grown fennel bulb at the farmers’ market or receive one as part of a CSA box, you can make use of the flavorful fronds with this recipe.
Recipe by Melissa
1-2 c. chopped fennel fronds and stalks
3/4 c. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. pistachios (I used roasted & salted)
Opt. 1 T. lemon juice, or to taste*
Add all ingredients to blender or food processor and process until desired smoothness.
- Stir into a grain, protein, veggie dish. I combined cooked couscous, rice, and lentils with chopped raw carrots, summer squash, and kohl rabbi. Mix in the fennel pesto, adjust salt as needed, and you have a quick, easy meal.
- Add extra lemon juice (and perhaps a bit of water) to create a tasty salad dressing. If you still have the fennel bulb, make a salad with a bed of greens, roasted fennel and/or thin slices of raw fennel,
pistachios, and olives.
- Use any way that you would use basil pesto, e.g., on top of pasta, as a pizza sauce, etc.
- Spread onto bread for a simple appetizer or as a sandwich ingredient.
*I didn’t add lemon juice in my original recipe, but it would be a nice addition.
Related post: Monumental fennel (with recipe for roasted fennel)
Since today is Bike to Work Day, here’s my post from BtW Day last year, when I was 32 weeks pregnant: Finally Bike Somewhere Day.