I just got my last CSA box for the year from the Crown Point Ecology Center CSA. This post is in honor of all their hard work, and all the vegetables they gave me and Pam this year.
*Pam and I split a CSA share. Hi, Pam!
I was picking up my vegetable share a few weeks ago, and I was happy to see that the fennel was in. It's one of my favorite vegetables to grill. Then I looked in the "adopt a vegetable" bin as I was leaving, and saw another six bulbs. I couldn't help myself - I grabbed them all.
When I got home, I shot Pam an email:
MikeV: I got the share today, and I hit the jackpot. Lots of fennel this week!
Pam: Fennel? I'm glad you got it. What do you do with fennel?
What do you do with fennel? Let me tell you...
- 2 large fennel bulbs
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
1. Prepare the Fennel: Trim the root end of the bulb, and the stalks on the top. Cut the bulb in half. Sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper, and drizzle with the olive oil.
2. Prepare the grill: Set your grill up for indirect cooking at medium to high heat. For my Weber Summit, this means turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and leaving the middle burners unlit.
3. Sear, then Roast the Fennel: Put the fennel, cut side down, over the direct heat part of your grill, and grill for 3-6 minutes, or until you get some good grill marks. Move the fennel over the unlit burners (indirect heat), flip so the cut side is up, and cook with the lid closed for 30 to 45 minutes. The fennel is done when it can be pierced easily with a paring knife.
*The thick inner core takes longer to cook than the outer leaves - give it time and you will be rewarded.
4. Serve: Remove from the grill, cut each half a bulb into 4 wedges, and serve.
Skip the direct heat: If you don't want to mess with it, cook the fennel using indirect heat the whole time. Give it 45 minutes to an hour to get nice and soft.
Over direct heat: If you are in a hurry, you can cook the fennel directly over the flame. Instead of cutting the fennel in half, cut it into ½" slices. Cook the slices over medium heat for about 8 minutes a side, rotating a quarter-turn after 4 minutes to get diamond grill marks.
Grilled Fennel and Orange Salad: Peel and orange and section it over a bowl, to catch the juices. Use the juices to make a vinaigrette, and toss the grilled fennel and orange sections in the vinaigrette.
Fennel has a strong licorice taste. When it's raw, that taste can be overpowering, but cooking the fennel softens that taste, gives it a sweet taste with a hint of licorice.
Grilled fennel makes a great addition to a tossed salad, or go with the Orange-Fennel salad in the variations.
The fronds make a great herb, with a strong licorice taste. Since I was cooking them at the same time, I used some in stuffing my grilled trout.
Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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