Friday, May 18, 2012

A Duo of Fennel Recipes

Many fennel parts are edible, including the feathery leaves, dried fruits, and bulb.  The first weekend in May, Garden Chef Christina Curry demonstrated the use of the bulbs in a fabulous Mixed Greens & Fennel Salad.    

For those that want to get a head start on the meal, soak shaved fennel in water with lemon juice to prevent browning (oxidation) and preserve the beautiful white color of the bulb. 

Fennel parts have a licorice flavor that pairs well with citrus and are perfect for salads.  Fronds can be used like herbs to add color and taste to your finished dish.  Although they look like dill, fennel fronds have an aroma and flavor all their own.  When selecting citrus from the market, use softer lemons for juicing and look for the brightest colored lemons for zesting.  Enjoy this refreshing summer salad that highlights the bright flavor of fennel!

Mixed Greens & Fennel Salad

10 oz spring mix lettuce
1 cup fennel, shaved
3 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
2 T orange juice
1 T shallot, minced
1 T honey
kosher salt & black pepper, to season

In a large bowl, combine the mixed greens and shaved fennel.  In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, shallot, honey and season with salt and pepper.  Whisk together and immediately pour over the mixed greens and fennel and toss gently.

During Cocktails in the Garden on Thursday, May 10, Atlanta Botanical Garden Chef Christina Curry prepared Spiced Ground Chicken with a slaw featuring fennel from the Edible Garden.  Fennel, Napa cabbage and julienne carrots were dressed with ponzu, soy sauce, mirin and rice wine vinegar for an Asian-style slaw.  Ponzu and soy both contain sodium so the slaw will need less seasoning than usual.  Ground chicken is flavored with garlic and ginger and other sweet sauces for this quick anytime meal.  To finish the dish, Chef Christina wrapped the spiced chicken in a grilled tortilla and topped the dish with the slaw.

Spiced Ground Chicken with Fennel & Napa Cabbage Slaw

Fennel & Napa Cabbage Slaw

1 cup fennel, shaved
1 small head Napa cabbage, julienne
1/2 cup carrot, julienne
1 T olive oil
3 T ponzu
1 T soy sauce
3 T mirin
4 T rice wine vinegar
fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste
kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and gently toss together.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Spiced Ground Chicken

3 T ginger, chopped
1 T garlic, chopped
1 lb ground chicken
2 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 T dark soy sauce
2 T sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
2 T cilantro, chopped
kosher salt & pepper
grapeseed oil for sautéing 
sesame oil for sautéing

In a large skillet, heat 3 T of grapeseed oil and 1 T of sesame oil over medium high heat.  Add the chopped ginger and chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the ground chicken, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and sweet chili sauce.  Stir ingredients together and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat, add the green onion and cilantro and adjust seasoning as needed.

Top Spiced Ground Chicken with Fennel & Napa Cabbage Slaw in a tortilla or a bowl.

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