Italian cakes made from wild or cultivated fennel greens are a great thing to make with extra fennel fronds and stems. Makes about 12 ⅛ cup cakes.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Keyword: Fennel Fronds, Wild Fennel
8ozfennel fronds from wild fennelor the leafy green stalks of two cultivated fennel bulbs
½cupfinely grated parmesan
½teaspoontoasted ground wild or cultivated fennel seed
Suggestion of lemon zest
Fresh ground black pepperto taste
Cooking oilas needed
Serving as pictured (optional)
½ cup Aioli, preferably homemade, to taste
Shaved fennel salad
Sliced oranges, skin removed
a handful of fresh watercress
Bring a gallon of salted water to a boil and cook the fennel fronds, whole, for 15 minutes at a steady simmer.
Taste a piece of the fennel fronds at this point to gauge the texture, if it’s soft enough for you, remove, or cook a few minutes more, tasting here and there until it’s just right.
When you’re pleased with them (they will get tender) remove to a colander to drain and cool to room temperature (resist the urge to shock them in cold water).
Squeeze the fronds dry, then chop finely and mix with the remaining ingredients. Heat a pan with a film or oil, take a small portion of the fennel mixture, mold it into a small test patty and cook to test the seasoning and set.
If the cakes are hard to flip, add some extra breadcrumbs, if they taste mild, add a pinch of salt. When you’re ready to cook the cakes, take 2 tablespoons at a time and form into patties, then brown well in oil on both sides. Serve the cakes topped with a small dollop of aioli.
Serving as pictured
For a nice fennel salad, cut a bulb of fennel vertically, then shave thin on a mandoline. Toss the shaved fennel with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and a handful of fresh watercress, along with some herbs if you have them (mint and basil are nice). Double check the seasoning, adjust until it tastes good to you, and serve with a few slices of orange, pared of it's skin, cut into slices.