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Jan 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘fennel’

By the Book: Scaloppine di Vitello al Marsala with Insalata di Arance

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013



Sicily: the largest island in the Mediterranean, the deflated soccer ball that Italy’s boot is kicking, the home to perhaps the hottest region for wine, and the latest subject of Phaidon Press. For me, what makes Sicilian cooking so interesting is that it isn’t the typical cuisine one might expect coming from an island off the coast of Italy. In fact, it isn’t very Italian at all. Based on Sicily’s location in the middle of the Mediterranean, the island was conquered throughout history time and time again. Consequently, Sicily’s cuisine has been influenced by the Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards and so on … As the cookbook states, Sicily truly is “the original fusion cuisine.”




I chose the citrus and fennel salad because it looked beautiful in its photo. I chose the veal Marsala based on the amount of butter the recipe called for; I knew it would taste ridiculously decadent. I was right on both counts.




The recipe for the fennel salad seemed so weird – one of those combos that I figured would taste probably taste good, but I never would have thought of on my own. The salad was quick to put together, and although the flavors were powerful, the salad itself was light, which complemented the heaviness of the veal.




The veal was almost too rich for my tastes. Almost. Perhaps if I ordered it in a restaurant, I wouldn’t have thought twice about how it was prepared. But since I made it, it was hard to erase the image of the meat boiling in butter. The same idea goes for fried chicken – I would rather just eat it, not cook it. Although the veal melted in my mouth, it was so buttery that just one or two medallions seemed like enough, coupled with some salad and wine, of course.



Insalata di Arance
Preparation time: 30 minutes
8 servings

For the dressing:
5 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of half a lemon, strained
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
Fennel fronds from 3 to 4 fennel bulbs
1 tsp. fennel seeds (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the salad:
3 to 4 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
8 oranges
1 cup roasted olives

• First make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, fennel fronds and fennel seeds, if using, in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
• Cut off the peel from the oranges, removing all traces of bitter white pith. Cut the flesh into rounds, put them into a large bowl and add the fennel and olives.
• Drizzle the dressing over the salad, mix well and serve immediately.

Scaloppine di Vitello al Marsala (veal scallops with marsala)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
4 servings

1 lb. 2-oz. veal scallops
All-purpose flour, for dusting
3 oz. (6 Tbsp.) butter
14 oz. (1½ cups) dry Marsala
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

• Dust the veal with flour, shaking off the excess.
• Melt the butter in a large pan and heat until it turns hazel in color.
• Add the veal, in batches if necessary, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes on each side.
• Season to taste with salt, reduce the heat to low and cook for a few minutes more, then remove the veal from the pan and set aside on a plate in a warm place.
• Scrape up the sediment from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, then pour in the Marsala, stir well and cook until reduced. Spoon the sauce over the veal, garnish with the parsley and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Phaidon Press

Tell us about your favorite lettuce-less salad in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Sicily. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Stacie, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won her a copy of Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Kitchen. Stacie, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!



By the Book: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich’s Pipette or Elbows with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley and Capers

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013



I had a plan. After a leisurely Sunday afternoon browsing through Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Kitchen, I would cook up an Italian feast. Maybe try my hand at homemade pasta (She offers wonderfully simple instructions with or without a pasta roller.). Or I’d give her Pepperadelle with Turkey Rolls a go. Maybe I’d bake something.

Then the wind picked up. In the next 10 minutes, rain blew sideways; branches crashed into the street; hail pelted the driveway. My lights flickered once, twice, and then died completely. And they remained off for the next 36 hours. Instead of preparing for my feast, I spent the limited hours of daylight purging my freezer of dripping ice cream and thawing leftovers. I ferried all my precious dairy products – half-and-half, milk, the good cheese – to the refrigerator at my office.




With deadline – and darkness – approaching on Monday, I called my parents and offered to cook dinner in exchange for their kitchen. Then I flipped open the book again, this time hunting for something simple and fast. Luckily, Lidia Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali’s recipes are delicious and as touted, based on common sense. After a quick trip to the grocery store for some fennel, leeks, a sweet potato and some quality cheese, I whipped up a filling meal.




Bastianich’s Pipette or Elbows with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley and Capers was a great seasonal pasta dish that warmed us up on a cold night. Bright orange sweet potatoes and soft green leeks studded the pan sauce, bulked up with plenty of pancetta. Fresh parsley and capers brightened it up, and the whole thing coated the elbow macaroni without weighing it down. A note of caution: Use a light hand when seasoning. With all the pancetta, capers, pasta water and cheese, the dish didn’t need another pinch of sodium.




The bonus dish – Baked Fennel with Sage – was the surprise hit of the night. As I sliced and blanched the bulbs, the potent smell was a tad off-putting to some (Exact words: “It smells like my old fish tank.”). But baking the fennel in a hot oven (and smothering it in fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano), turned the strong, licorice-y vegetable into a mild, earthy side dish that screamed for a slice of rustic bread to sop up all that gooey cheese.




Each dish took only about 20 minutes of active cooking time, and the instructions encouraged home cooks to trust their instincts. But the best part? I returned home to a well-lit apartment where I stored my leftover ingredients in a nice, chilly fridge. Now back to that grand Italian meal…



Pipette or Elbows with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley and Capers
6 Servings

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. thick-sliced bacon or pancetta, cut into julienne strips
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 fresh sage leaves
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, sliced (about 2 cups)
¼ cup rinsed small capers (optional)
½ tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for the pot
¼ to ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. pipette or elbow pasta
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

• Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.
• In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and add the bacon or pancetta, the garlic and the sage. Cook until fat has rendered, about 3 to 4 minutes.
• Add the sweet potatoes and leeks and cook, stirring continuously, until both begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the capers, if using. Season with the salt and crushed red pepper.
• Ladle in 1 cup of pasta water and simmer rapidly until the sweet potatoes and leeks are very tender but the sweet potatoes retain their shape, about 7 to 8 minutes, adding more pasta water if necessary to keep it saucy.
• Meanwhile, cook the pipette until al dente. When the pipette are done, remove with a spider directly to the sauce.
• Add the parsley and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Increase the heat and boil 1 minute if the sauce is too thin or add a little more pasta water if it is too thick.
• Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve.



Baked Fennel with Sage
6 Servings

½ tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for the pot
3 bulbs fennel, trimmed (about 2 lbs.)
8 oz. grated Italian fontina
½ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 large fresh sage leaves, chopped

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large lot of salted water to a boil.
• Halve and core the fennel and slice it ½-inch thick. Add the slices of fennel to the boiling water and blanch until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and rinse.
• In a medium bowl, toss together the fontina and grated Grana Padano.
• Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread in the blanched fennel and season with the salt. Scatter the chopped sage over the top and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
• Bake until browned and bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Reprinted with permission from Alfred Knopf Publishing

Power outages, broken ovens, hungry dogs… What’s the biggest obstacle that was interfered with your cooking plans? How did you adapt? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Sue, whose answer on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of Roberta‘s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hay, Chris Parachini and Katherine Wheelock. Sue, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

Just Five: Trout with Apple-Fennel Slaw

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013


Recently at the farmers market, a woman was selling trout so fresh, it was swimming in the lake just 24 hours before. There are few things more gorgeous than trout, with its silvery rainbow skin. I didn’t want to hide the fresh flavor of the fish, but I wanted to give it some sweetness and thought a slaw would be a great accompaniment.

I had a trout dish at Franco a few years ago that I have always wanted to try and recreate. I was entranced with how the taste and the texture of the goat cheese worked with the caramelized apple and the fish. Even if I couldn’t make the same thing with only five ingredients, I could pay homage to it. I played with lemon juice, white wine and cider vinegar as acids to brighten up the warm slaw, but the cider vinegar boosted the apple flavors in the dish the most (Apple brandy also would be an excellent addition.). Broiling the goat cheese at the end is not necessary, but it gives the dish one more lovely texture.

Trout with Apple-Fennel Slaw
Inspired by Franco
2 Servings

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup fennel, thinly sliced crosswise, fronds set aside
1 apple (Gala or Granny Smith), cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 boneless trout fillets, skin on
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

•  Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute the fennel for 6 to 7 minutes, until it just begins to caramelize.
• Add the apple slices and saute for 2 more minutes, until the apple starts to soften. Stir in the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Remove pan from the heat and allow the slaw to cool to room temperature.
• Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
• Place the trout fillets in a shallow baking pan or foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove the pan from the oven.
• Set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler. Sprinkle goat cheese on the fillets and return the pan to oven. Broil 2 to 3 minutes, until the goat cheese has browned a bit.
• Garnish with fennel fronds and serve with the fennel-apple slaw.



By the Book: Carl and Nancy McConnell’s Fresh Fennel and Clementine Salad

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Stone Soup Cottage: A Vignette of Seasonal Recipes
is the first cookbook written by Carl and Nancy McConnell of Stone Soup Cottage. Like many cookbooks these days, it’s divided into seasons, but the McConnell’s take their book a step further by splitting each season into three six-course tasting menus.

For example, one menu looks like this:

First Course:
Roasted butternut squash soup with maple and brie cheese croquette

Second Course:
Seared foie gras with cranberry compote, black sesame tuile and autumn greens

Third Course:
Sauteed skate wing with lemon and capers

Fourth Course:
Fried sage and sweet potato tartlet

Fifth Course:
Smoked beef short ribs with anise au jus

Sixth Course:
Petite apple tarte tatin

Sounds good to me.

Then there’s the photography: artful and delicious. Admittedly the photos are shot by Sauce contributing photographer Carmen Troesser … so I guess it’s safe to say we like her work.

While this dish didn’t have a photo to accompany it, I chose to make the Fresh Fennel and Clementine Salad which turned out citrusy and super-clean. The dressing called for orange juice concentrate which I’ve never used in a dressing before, but I will in the future.

On its own, the concentrate is obviously over the top with orange flavor and sugar, but with the addition of shallots, vinegar and water, it completely mellows and has great flavor. This ingredient is definitely one to keep in my back pocket for future use.

I think the recipe was a success, but it lacked a few small details. For example, the recipe says to slice the fennel paper thin but doesn’t offer a suggestion as to how. Mandoline? Food processor? By hand? It also calls for segmented clementines, but I wasn’t sure if the McConnell’s meant to supreme them instead.

Fresh Fennel and Clementine Salad
Serves 4

For the salad:
1 small fennel bulb, peeled and sliced paper thin
2 clementine oranges, segmented
1 handful arugula leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Honey for drizzling

For the vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp. shallots, minced
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. orange juice concentrate
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• First, make the vinaigrette. Combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
• Dress the fennel and oranges with the vinaigrette.
• Drizzle the arugula greens with honey. Sprinkle the arugula with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the fennel and oranges.

Had a chance to visit Stone Soup Cottage? If you have, what’s the most memorable dish you tried? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Stone Soup Cottage: A Vignette of Seasonal Recipes. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Cherie whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of European Tarts: Pastries Like a Pro; Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking. Cherie, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew. 

By the Book: Sophie Dahl’s Fennel Frittata

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

I’m obsessed with Sophie Dahl’s new cookbook, Very Fond of Food: A Year in Recipes. It’s printed on uncoated paper and has tons of gorgeous, rustic photos of food, which is usually uncomplicated and (for the most part) healthy. Many of her recipes don’t list a ton of ingredients, which is good for me – easy on my wallet and my free time. The book is a fun read, too, even if you don’t feel like cooking, as Dahl’s writing is filled with personality. Ingredient lists include “a whisper of half and half,” and recipes are given titles such as “Heartbreak Carbonara (or the first thing I ever cooked for a boy).” Dotted throughout the book are little stories that make the book feel personal and real – why she loves a dish or ingredient, beautifully recounted memories from times in her life, etc.Very Fond of Food is divided up into five sections: the four seasons and then a dessert section. Each season is divided further into breakfast, lunch and supper.

I chose to cook out of the summer section making her Fennel Frittata, which required only five ingredients and took less than 10 minutes to make.

Affordable, easy, healthy, delicious. What else can you ask for?

Fennel Frittata
2 Servings

Fennel is a generous, diplomatic vegetable that works pretty much anywhere. Conjure up The Talented Mr. Ripley, pre-all the murderous action, and eat this frittata pretending you’re on the Amalfi Coast. You can serve it cold and with a tomato salad for lunch or supper, too. 

4 eggs
1 fennel bulb, with a few of the fronds
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
About ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

• Preheat the broiler to high. Whisk the eggs in a bowl.
• Peel off the tough outer layers of the fennel and discard. Thinly slice the bulb so you have thin ribbons, and then further chop it down so it is in bite-size pieces.
• Heat an ovenproof frying pan and add the olive oil, and then add the fennel. Stir for a few minutes, until the color turns slightly translucent, and then add the whisked eggs and some salt and pepper. Cook until the bottom sets, sprinkle with the grated Parmesan, and then pop the pan under the broiler until the frittata is risen and triumphant, which should take 3 or 4 minutes at most.
• Serve quickly, garnished with a few fennel fronds.

Reprinted with permission from Very Fond of Food: A year in recipes by Sophie Dahl, copyright (c) 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo credit: Jan Baldwin (c) 2011

What’s your favorite frittata combination? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Very Fond of Food by Sophie Dahl. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate KTMeyers whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a signed copy of Charred & Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang. KT, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

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