Tag Archives: fennel

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Spring is in the air, and that means salad season is here! I want lots of big, beautiful, fresh salads full of awesome, yummy ingredients. With Easter around the corner, we’re all on the lookout for delicious dishes to make for a big group dinner, so I’ve decided to share this Big Italian Salad with you just for the occasion.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

My boyfriend is half Italian so over the years my consumption of olives, cured meat and artichokes has increased, and you could say, they have added more flavour to my life (though, he might have a little something to do with that too!). We try our very best to eat salads regularly, but find it challenging to keep ‘em interesting. There’s only so much tomato and cucumber you can consume before you hit a salad slump. And let’s face it, when all is said and done, I’m a meat and carbs kind of gal.

Yum. Meat.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

But the great thing about my Big Italian Salad is, it has meat! And cheese! The parmesan and salami add just the right amount of salty creaminess. Fresh romaine lettuce and bitter radicchio are topped with sweet bursts of cherry tomatoes, crunchy licorice-infused fennel and velvety artichokes. Finally, the bright pop of the olives brings the whole salad to life.

This, my friends, is not your average, boring salad.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

A light, lemony vinaigrette that incorporates some of the artichoke marinade ties the whole dish together. Before you can say “you can’t make friends with salad” you’ll be happily chowing down on a big mouthful of all things Italian.

Big Italian Salad
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Big Italian Salad

This Big Italian Salad is full of awesome, fresh ingredients. Romaine lettuce and bitter radicchio are topped with sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy fennel, creamy artichokes and salty salami, olives and parmesan.
Course Healthy, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 small head of Romaine lettuce roughly chopped
  • 1 small radicchio finely chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 half fennel thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green and kalamata olives pitted and finely sliced
  • 2 ounces salami or your fave cured meat finely diced
  • 227 grams marinated artichokes finely sliced, marinade reserved
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggianocheese grated

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons marinade from the artichokes
  • 1 half lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the cheese in a large bowl.
  2. In a food processor or medium bowl combine all the dressing ingredients except for the oil. Slowly add oil while whisking or mixing on low.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and sprinkle cheese over top. Toss and serve immediately.

I could seriously eat this entire bowl in one sitting. The salad is so fresh and lightly dressed that all the other flavours are allowed stand out, and it’s addictive. But, one must learn to share, so here you go my friends, some salad to go with your roasted ham.

What are you making for your big Easter dinner?  Let me know if you liked my Big Italian Salad and what type of cured meat is your favourite!

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

Over the years tourtière has become a New Year’s Eve tradition.  A nice break from turkey, a spiced meat pie on a chilly winter’s night is the ultimate comfort food.  I decided to change it up this year and include my new fave vegetable: fennel.  Fennel and pork are a popular Italian combination, that I thought my half Italian boyfriend would enjoy.  The licorice flavour pairs nicely with the pork, and adds to the festive seasoning of the filling.  Flaky, rich and hearty, this French Canadian Fennel Tourtière will keep you fed for days!

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

I have always been intimidated by crust, and I’ve tried many different recipes with mixed results. A few years ago I took a culinary course at George Brown College where I finally learned how to make the perfect crust.  This is a sure-fire recipe and the secret is to make sure your dough stays very cold.  What is great about this recipe is that the dough can be used almost immediately and doesn’t need to chill for an hour like most doughs.  I also read somewhere that using vodka instead of water makes for a crispier crust, and I swear by this trick now.

Originating from Canada, immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th century introduced this dish to Quebec and since then, has become a French Canadian Christmas or New Year’s Eve tradition.  The filling varies depending on the region.  For instance, the tourtières of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area and Eastern Quebec are made with potatoes and cubed pieces of meat, while in Montreal the pies are made with ground pork only, spiced with cloves and cinnamon and served with maple syrup, ketchup, chutneys or preserves.  In St. Boniface, Manitoba, similar herbs are used as well as celery salt, nutmeg and dry mustard and the pies are served with mustards and relishes, while an Acadian tourtière is made with pork and may also contain beef, chicken or hare.

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

My tourtière is influenced by both the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Montreal tourtières.  I like using ground pork and beef instead of cubes, and the mashed potatoes help to bind the filling (and I also love mashed potato).  Spicing the meat is essential for that festive aroma, and I like my meat pie more on the savory side so I prefer a combination of marjoram, thyme, sage, cloves and now, fennel.  Finally, I serve my tourtière with some homemade ketchup, gerkins or beet chutney to balance out the richness.  I’d love to try serving with some relishes and mustards, I think a maple mustard or a cranberry relish would be really tasty.

With this recipe you can either make two medium thick pies, or one thick pie.  I usually make one large pie, however the tourtière tradition is to make a whole lot to give away during the holidays.  So if you need a last minute gift, making the second meat pie is always an option!  Either way, your home will be filled with the wonderful aroma of fennel, cloves and sage.

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Makes two 9-inch (23-cm) meat pies or one thick 11-inch (27 cm) pie

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 6 peeled Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped fennel, including stems
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 Tbsp water
  • For the crust:
  • 750 grams pastry flour
  • 500 grams shortening (chilled)
  • 250ml chilled vodka
  • 15 grams salt

Instructions

  1. Boil water in a large pot and add potatoes. Cook until soft, then push through a potato ricer*.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the fennel and garlic for 5 minutes or until softened.
  3. Crumble the ground pork and beef into the pan and cook until the meat is no longer pink.
  4. Add fennel seeds, marjoram, thyme, sage, cloves and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir in the wine and cover the pan. Lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Combine flour and shortening in large bowl and cut with pastry cutter until reduced to irregular pea sized crumbs.
  7. Dissolve salt in vodka and add to flour mixture all at once. Mix just enough to combine without overmixing.
  8. Transfer dough to floured surface and shape into four discs (or just two if making only one pie). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge until ready for use*.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Grease either 2 x 9-inch pie pans or 1 x 11-inch pie pan.
  10. Once the filling has finished simmering, stir in the mashed potatoes and parsley. Set aside to cool.
  11. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface into four (or two) thin rounds.
  12. Fill each pie chell with 1/2 of the cooled meat mixture and top with the remaining pastry, sealing and fluting the edges with your fingers to form a ruffled border.
  13. Cut small steam vents in the tops of the pies using the tip of a sharp knife and brush the pies with the egg yolk glaze
  14. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

Notes

*a ricer is a utensil that pushes the potato through small holes, resulting in fluffly mashed potatoes. A potato masher can be used as well but can result in over mashing, making the potato too gluey.

*if making only one pie, use the extra dough to make a few mini meat pies or to add additional crust decor

*always keep your dough cold, this will "firm-up" the shortening which in turn makes the dough easier to handle

http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/11/28/french-canadian-fennel-tourtiere/

Do you have a New Year’s Eve tradition?  What would you add to your French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere filling?

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

French Canadian Fennel Tourtiere

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

For many years I relied on the same old honey-pecan-carrot recipe when it came to a festive root vegetable dish, but this holiday season I was on a quest to find a new side.  Roasting vegetables is an easy way to bring out the flavours with minimal effort, and a really healthy cooking technique too.  I still wanted to use carrots, but tried to use a few other veggies that are often forgotten about,  and thus my Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel recipe was born. 

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

I absolutely love roasting fennel, the process transforms this lowly root vegetable into a soft, fragrant addition to sauces, salads, curries and sides.  High in fiber and B vitamins, fennel also has a lot of beneficial health properties, and is also a source of iron, calcium and magnesium.  Good for the body when the winter blues hits, and after indulging in heavy holiday fare!

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Roasting carrots brings out the sweetness and is balanced by the sweet licorice flavour of the fennel.  Parsnips are one of those vegetables that I always fear will be bland, but in this case they add a bit of heartiness and are a compliment to the sweet carrots.  The crunch from the fennel gives the dish some texture alongside the tender roasted carrots and parsnips.

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Quick and easy, this dish can be prepped ahead of time and then popped into the oven when the turkey comes out.  A healthy addition to a holiday menu, these root vegetables are given new life with the addition of fennel, and as a bonus the roasted fennel will fill your home with a delightful licorice aroma!

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Ingredients

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 4 medium parsnips, peeled, trimmed, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, stalks discarded and bulbs cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F, making sure the racks are in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  2. Divide vegetables evenly between two baking sheets. Toss carrots, parsnips and fennel using half the olive oil, wine, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper per sheet.
  3. Evenly spread out the vegetables and cover pan with aluminum foil.
  4. Roast vegetables for 10 minutes, then uncover, toss and rotate sheets.
  5. Roast 10 minutes more. Toss and rotate sheets.
  6. Roast until vegetables are tender and browned, about 10 minutes more.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/11/07/roasted-carrots-parsnips-and-fennel/

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

What is your favourite holiday side dish?   What other dishes can roasted fennel be added to besides carrots and parsnips?