January 24, 2011
Let’s play a game! What’s the first thing that pops into your head when I say… FENNEL?!
Wait. Sorry. I slipped into my days of scripting preschool television. (It’s all the damn Dora and Diego we’ve been watching while home sick.) Let’s get more adult about this.
Whatever you said, WRONG!
Just kidding. Let me get to the point (already!): when I think of fennel, I think Italian. Which is why I pretty much only use it in Italian preparations: breaded and fried ala fritto misto, braised, shaved in salad with pecorino. All good, but it was time to try something different.
The other night I made these Old Bay Shrimp Rolls and oven baked sweet potato fries. As I scanned the fridge for another veggie, I spied fennel. But none of my go-to dishes would do. Italian fennel with Old Bay shrimp salad? I guess fried could have worked, but I was going for something less, well, fried.
That’s when the idea of slaw hit me. Fennel Slaw. Hmmm? With apple. Yes!
This super easy Fennel Apple Slaw (can be shared with kids 6+ mos*) was a huge hit. The Hungry Baby (now 15 months for those of you who have lost count) had a hard time with the texture, so I chopped it fine and added more yogurt to smooth it out. It became more a side of yogurt with some fennel than a side of fennel, but that’s okay. He got a good dose of the mild anise flavor, which was a big part of serving it to him.
Totally delicious. Give this a try. And, if you hop on over to my recipe on The Family Kitchen, you’ll also find a few key tips for buying and prepping fennel:
*Note: If serving to very early eaters, be sure to blend well and mix with extra yogurt to smooth out the texture. Also — this is very important — skip the honey in the dressing. Honey is not safe for eaters under 1-year-old.