A bulb of fennel or "anise", as it's called here in Canada.
So, this week’s blog post stems from a frustration I’ve often dealt with at the grocery store. Now, if you’re like me in the kitchen, you NEED a recipe to follow. Creative photography is my forte, not creativity in the kitchen! So it rocked my little culinary boat a bit when I couldn’t find fennel for the life of me in any of my local grocery stores.
Well, thank goodness for the internet. I finally decided to research what exactly fennel is, and came across an image of the bloody thing. So the next time I visited the grocery store, I realized FENNEL IS ANISE. Seriously.
For some bizarre reason (lets call it a weak post-colonial attempt at independence) North Americans decided to call Fennel “Anise” or “Sweet Anise” (even though Anise happens to be a completely different spice altogether.) But our cookbook authors like to give a prissy shout out to the folks across the pond, and still use “fennel” in their recipes.
So, can I just say: WTF.
It’s hard enough for me to haul my ass into the kitchen each day to cook up a healthy, taste meal. Why do the powers that be want to mess with my mind in this way?
So now you know. Take note for the next time you’re looking for fennel. And also take a peek below for tips on how to prepare it (including a fab vegetarian recipe.)
1. Cut the top off your fennel bulb.
2. Core your fennel. This is done easily by quartering the fennel and then using a sharp paring knife to cut the core out of each quarter.
3. Prepare fennel as described in your recipe (this one calls for diced fennel.)
Recipe: Fennel-Spiked Lentil Cobbler with Red Pepper and Goat Cheese*
Cook 2 diced onions and 1 diced fennel bulb in olive oil until softened. Add 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup lentils, and then deglaze the pan with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 3 cups vegetable broth.
Preheat boiler. In a bowl, combine 2 cups bread crumbs and 125 grams of soft goat cheese. Transfer slow cooker mixture to an oven-safe dish and then spread the goat cheese mixture on top of the lentil mixture. Broil for a few minutes until the goat cheese mixture begins to brown.
* recipe originally from “The Vegetarian Slow Cooker” by Judith Finlayson