By Natalia Gill, from An Appetite For Joy
Bright, aromatic fennel is deepened and mellowed as it sautes alongside onion and and a touch of apple. Topped with lemony walnut crumbs, this dish enchants the palate and comforts the soul. (Incidentally, fennel eases digestion, an added reason to include it in any holiday meal!)
Fresh fennel is a food that just recently captured my attention. I was ambivalent bordering strongly disinterested until, one day over the summer, some “friends of friends” brought a fennel-apple-walnut salad to a potluck. It was outstanding, and since then I’ve gone a little fennel crazy, experimenting with soups and salads. And now, I can’t get enough of this gratin!
I just love how versatile this perennial herb is! The wispy leaves are perfect in salads and the stalks make a pretty, edible bouquet for the table.
Once, the “fennel bouquet” suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. I searched high and low and eventually wrote it off as just another housekeeping conundrum. But later, I found it in my 2-yr. old daughter’s room, carefully displayed on her dresser next to a vase of dried hydrangeas. My heart melts every time I think of it!
I hope that you enjoy this as much as we do, and if you haven’t yet worked with fennel that you are inspired to give it a try!