We are nearly entering the festive season and I am already envisaging hot roast chestnuts and cracking walnuts by the fire. Tall mugs of homemade hot chocolate (possibly laced with a little brandy) and endless wheels of oozy brie, cold cut of honey roast ham and turkey and stuffing sandwiches. oooh ahhh
It is all too easy around this time to give up on the good ole greens and health giving fare, but now is the crucial time to be getting a good dose of it. Food is THE best medicine to keep colds at bay and stay fighting fit for all those pending office parties and social events. There is nothing so unappealing as a nose drip and a sniffle if you are planning to make a move on any of your office colleagues.
Yes, it isn’t really time of year to be eating no-cook salads in abundance, unless you are a raw foodie (in which case I salute you.) The blustry weather and nose biting cold calls for something a little more nourishing and warming for the system then ice cold lettuce leaves I feel, which is why I have been taking some of my favourite combinations and reinvented them into more season appropriate dishes.
This one in particular is a bit of a corker. I might have made it several times this week already, to have primarily with roast chicken. Basically because fennel and chicken are a match made in heaven. Even more so if you throw a little bit of a smooth creamy dressing and dill into the equation. The light anise flavours complement the juicy white meat no end! The fact that the fennel is griddled and charred just adds and extra dimension of depth.
For anyone that is a little skeptical of fennel (and I know there is a few of you out there… my brother being one), this is a dish to try because cooking it mellows down the flavour, turning it into something rather more subtle.
If you are planning a roast chicken dinner, or have a few chicken thighs you are in need of cooking at any point over the weekend, than do try this with it. It is certainly best served hot and will certainly knock the socks off any standard steamed greens served alongside. Of course in true ‘YES’ chef style it is supremely speedy, easy and requires very few ingredients so there is no reason not to…
Caramelised Fennel and Dill Curd Salad Recipe
- 2 large fennel bulbs
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little to drizzle
- a small handful of dill fronds
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- salt and pepper
For the Dill Curd
- 2 tbs goat curd, or 1 tbs soft goats cheese and 1 tbs goats yoghurt mixed until smooth.
- 1 heaped tablespoon chopped dill
- a good squeeze of lemon juice
- salt and pepper
To make the curd, add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Season to taste.
Slice the fennel longways into thin, half-inch, sized steaks. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place a griddle pan on the hob over a high heat and add the fennel to the pan. This will most likely need to be done in batches.
Cook the fennel on one size until it develops char marks, about 3-5 minutes then flip and cook on the other side. Placing a lid on the pan and weighing down the fennel can help speed up the cooking time.
Once the fennel is cooked, carefully remove it from the pan and place on a serving platter. Scatter the remaining dill over and between the fennel and dress with the curd.
This is certainly bested scoffed up whilst it is hot.
If you have your own variation, or other fennel recipes that you recommend, do let me know. Comments and feedback are always welcomed in the box below.