From appetizers to side dishes through alternative and appetizing first courses: with fennel we can prepare any type of dish. Fennel belongs to the category of Umbelliferae and is a vegetable rich in properties. First of all, fennel is mostly composed of water and this characteristic makes it the perfect ingredient for draining and purifying salads. In fact, fennel has good quantities of: potassium (anti-fatigue mineral), vitamin C, vitamin A, flavonoids and some B vitamins (precious for the nervous system and the correct functioning of the metabolism).
Fried Fennel - Finocchio Fritto
Fried fennel is a delicious and easy to prepare side dish or antipasti. The fennel will be cut into slices and dipped in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs, ready to be fried in hot oil until golden brown. The end result will be fennel that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside - delicious!
3 Fennel; to taste salt; 3 eggs; to taste Flour; to taste Seed oil (for frying); to taste Pepper; to taste Parmesan cheese (optional)
Remove the stems and outer leaves of the fennel.
Cut the fennel in half lengthwise. Eliminate the darker and harder base. Divide the fennel into 4 wedges. Slice each wedge into slices of about half a centimeter.
Rinse them to remove any other residue. Blanch the fennel for 10 minutes in salted water. The fennel must be soft. Drain the fennel and put them to dry on a tea towel. Flour the fennel slices one at a time. Pass them in the previously beaten egg with a little pepper. If you wish, you can add some Parmesan to the egg to give the dish more flavour. Fry the fennel on both sides in abundant boiling oil. When they are golden, place them on a plate lined with absorbent paper. And ready to be served.
Baked Fennel - Finocchio al Forno
Baked fennel- a very tasty and very simple side dish to make! This version of baked fennel au gratin is truly formidable. Parmesan and butter create a delicious crust, a perfect dish to accompany meat or fish dishes cooked simply on the grill.
Fennel 1.2kg; Parmesan Cheese 100g; Butter 40g; salt to taste; black pepper to taste.
First of all when you want to make baked fennel, peel them then cut them in half and divide them into 3-4 wedges according to size, the important thing is not to remove the base so that the wedges remain intact.
Now put the fennel to boil in salted water for about 10 minutes. After this time drain them and let them cool so that they are easy to handle. Place the fennel in a baking dish, add salt and pepper, then add a few knobs of butter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Transfer to a preheated static oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes. To obtain a more gratin finish, you can complete the cooking with a few minutes on the grill at 250°C.
Fennel and pear salad - Insalata di finocchi e pere
Fennel and pear salad is a delicious and light side dish, perfect to be served as an appetizer for a candlelit dinner, or why not, a family lunch. The peculiarity of this salad lies in the combination of ingredients that apparently have very different flavors from each other, but which when brought together, give life to a dish with a unique flavor and very particular textures and, in my opinion, very perfect.
600 g of fennel; 2 Williams pears; 120 g of Parmesan cheese in one piece; 12 walnut kernels; the juice of 1 lemon; olive oil to taste; Salt to taste. Pepper as needed.
After 10 minutes of soaking the pears, drain them and dry them well with a clean cloth, then assemble everything by putting a few slices of pear and a little mix of fennel, Parmesan and walnuts on each plate, then season everything with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Garnish the dishes with the fennel beards kept aside and immediately serve the fennel and pear salad on the table. Buon Appetito.
To prepare the fennel and pear salad, start by cleaning 600 g of fennel: wash them, dry them then remove the base and the most leathery leaves, also cut away the longest stems and the green beards, keeping aside a few tufts for decoration the plate. Cut the fennel into very thin slices, perhaps with the help of a mandolin, then put them in a large bowl and keep them aside. Also wash the two Williams pears well, remove the stem, cut them in half and remove the core, hollowing it out with a knife or corer, then cut the half pears into thin slices and place them for 10 minutes in a bowl filled with cold water acidulated with the juice of half a lemon, in this way they will not darken. In the meantime, reduce 120 g of Parmigiano Reggiano into coarse pieces and put it in the bowl together with the fennel, then add the 12 hand-chopped walnut kernels and mix all these ingredients well.