Posted by: lisetta | October 17, 2007

ISO Fennel, aka Finocchio

At some point during the stressful workday, I found myself imagining a restful evening in the kithcen, transforming the fresh pasta from Carlino’s into a salmon-fennel-spinach lasagna. Layered with a bechamel sauce, this is one of the simplest ones to make midweek.

My plans were thwarted when none of the 3 grocery stores I went to had decent fennel — but it’s in season now! Only the Fresh Grocer on 40th had a handful of bulbs on its shelves, but they had clearly been stripped of their outermost layers a number of times, their fronds wilted and tiny bulbs dried with brown edges. As I stood there considering whether, like raisins, their flavor intensified with age, I decided to give up and try something else. Sometimes I really hate living and cooking in Philadelphia. Oh, fennel, where art thou?

fennelPicture grabbed from Whole Foods website

According to the Whole Foods website, the bitter variety of fennel “figures prominently in the Greek myth of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods by hiding it in a hollow stalk of fennel, thus freeing us from a legacy of brutish ignorance.” Ha ha! Go Prometheus, advocate for the mortal man. Wish you could bring some finocchio to the mortals in University City. In Italian, by the way, the word finocchio is pejorative slang for homosexual. I don’t get that one at all – what’s not to love about fennel?

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