I love fennel! It is crunchy and slightly sweet and has an aniseed flavour. Fennel is most often associated with Italian cooking, but other than soup, my family did not cook it. We used it in salads and cut it into little quarters, sometimes served on a cheese platter at the end of a meal.
Fennel is in season mid winter through to summer. The little baby fennel is even sweeter. The bigger fennel, I use as I would onion, stir fry with other vegetables. It goes well in a salad with fresh sliced onion and oranges.
I cut into slices and place a fresh salmon or piece of fish on it and with the lid on tight, it bakes to perfection.
Fish on a bed of Fennel
1 onion or leek chopped finely
1 fennel sliced finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups of water
6 pieces of any firm fish like rockling or flake
1 cup of olives (black and/or green)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Lemon zest and juice
2 cups chopped parsley (and some for garnish)
Place the onion or leek and fennel in a pan with olive oil on high heat.
Stir and just as they become soft add the fish, olives, water and lemon juice.
Add a sprinkle of oregano, salt and pepper to taste.
Top with one cup of parsley.
Cover with a tight lid and check after 10 minutes on medium heat.
If there is still a lot of water, leave the lid off to evaporate, may need to increase the heat.
OPTION: To make a thick sauce, remove the fish, add butter and allow to thicken.
Serve with lemon zest and/or slices of lemon and freshly chopped parsley.
Notes: This recipe does not need much salt especially if using salted cod.
If olives are too salty it is best to soak them in cold water for a few hours – changing the water a couple of times.
If using black olives, the sauce will be fairly dark at the end.
The fronds of the fennel add the fresh flavour of aniseed to a salad.