garnish some dishes with them...but that is essentially it. Or is it? I've tried throwing them in my vegetable scrap pot for stock but my stock turns out wayyyyy to licorice tasting, not my cup of tea. So what do I do with them? I refuse to just throw them away. I paid for those! In fact, they are the reason fennel is so expensive. Sold by the pound, the bulb is so tiny then you have this giant stalk covered in fronds and I'm just supposed to toss that? I won't! So I came up with three things to make with them.
Oil, Candy, Pesto.
The pesto was actually awesome and something I would make again.
The brittle was buttery and delicious, but did not have all that much frond flavor. Still, a use and a delicious one that at.
The oil had a very very faint flavor that I believe would be accentuated if tossed with something warm, like pasta or potatoes.
Fennel Frond Infused Oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fennel fronds
2 garlic cloves, smashed
rind strips from 1/2 lemon
pinch of red pepper flakes
Combine all of the ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Cover and sit for 1 hour. Strain the oil to remove all of the food bits and store covered.
Fennel Frond Pesto
1/2 cup packed fennel fronds
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup toasted pistachios
1/4 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine the fronds, garlic, pistachios, lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper in a food processor. Blend for 3-4 minutes. Stream in the olive oil while blending more to desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Frond Pine Nut Brittle
2 tbl water
2 tbl light corn syrup
2 tbl earth balance coconut spread
1 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
Line a small cake pan or baking sheet with foil and spray with grease.
In a small sauce pan, combine the water, corn syrup and coconut spread and turn on the heat to low. When the coconut spread has melted, add the sugar and salt. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Swirl the pot to combine the sugar and liquid, do not stir.
Use a candy thermometer to reach 300 degrees, occasionally swirling the pan so nothing burns. Remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts and vanilla. Toss to coat. Add the baking soda, stir quickly and pour immediately into your prepared pan.
Let sit until hard then break into pieces.