This week, an incredibly simple recipe for creamed fennel: a delicious accompaniment that will go equally well with the rack of lamb, the coley and the rainbow trout in this week’s hamper. Some people have an irrational fear of fennel regarding the strength of liquorice flavour, when it is usually quite mild, especially when cooked in this matter. The cream here acts as flavour-equivalent to a wall of sound as it infuses with the orange zest, star anise, thyme and garlic, the collective whole being a delicious amalgam that is far more than the sum of its simple parts. This effect largely encapsulates why we generally love French cooking. If you want to turn this garnish into a full meal (aside from serving with the aforementioned protein), mix in some cooked pearl barley and mussels or goat's cheese.
1 Fennel bulb, roughly chopped into 2 cm pieces
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Star anise
1 strips Orange zest
2 sprig Thyme
50ml Noilly Prat or other white vermouth
150ml Double cream
1 Garlic clove, crushed
- Save any fennel fronds from the top of the fennel and roughly chop them.
- Over a medium heat in a pan with a lid, sweat the fennel with the olive oil, salt, star anise, orange zest and thyme for 10 mins until softened.
- Add the Noilly Prat and bring to a boil, then add the cream and return to a boil.
- Add the garlic and another pinch of salt and simmer gently for 5 mins until the fennel is tender.
- Check seasoning, mix in the fennel tops and serve immediately.