Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fennel Pasta with Caesar Salad side

Fennel is sort of my newer love, and some of its uses remain a mystery to me. When Taproot delivered several full bulbs in as many weeks I went looking for new uses and adventures.

Where it asks you to "slice thin" the fennel bulb, I chopped it, but I'm not sure that it makes too much difference. I'll slice it next time, and let you know. I also used penne, for want of spaghetti.

This would make a great meal by itself, but I added caesar salad and pickled olives for some variety on the plate. The pasta then made a pasta salad good for lunches for the week.

Olives aside, I am a bit of a stickler for preservatives in food, so I NEVER use that poison (he said, zealously) that they sell as "salad dressing" at the grocer's. So I make my own caesar salad dressing. Here is a recipe for enough dressing to make two big batches of caesar salad. This is sort of the minimum amount, as the lower limit is set by the single egg.

Caesar salad:
Clean and dry romaine leaves or similar lettuce (we used Taproot's bib lettuce this time around). Set aside.

Bring water to a boil and toss in one egg. Boil for exactly one minute, then remove and immediately put it in a bowl of ice water until ready to use.

Toss into your blender and purée:
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 rib of celery, chopped
1/4 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. anchovy paste
1/2 tsp. gound pepper
1/2 tsp. powdered mustard seed
a pinch of sugar

After this is puréed, add this and re-purée:
the egg (spoon both cooked and raw bits into the blender)

After this is puréed, add this and re-purée:
2/3 c. oil (You are supposed to use pure olive oil, but I cheat and go 1/3 c. olive oil, and 1/3 c. sunflower or safflower oil.)

Toss about half of this dressing with the lettuce and some croutons. If you like a more "dynamic flavour" (as I do) you can add – to taste – a clove or two of raw minced garlic and some more lemon. Raw grated lemon is best.

Store-bought croutons are a crap shoot (read this as you will), but you can make your own croutons easily enough by chopping and frying up some dried-out bread with butter and minced herbs – and maybe some garlic. If your bread is not dried, then chop and put it in the oven at a really low heat as you prep the rest of the meal. Be careful not to toast it much in the oven, as the frying pan will do this already.

Bon appetit!


No comments:

Post a Comment