29 January 2008

Unexpected Coleslaw Find

I was at my parents’ house recently when I noticed my mom’s shelf of cookbooks. I realized that my mom had a cookbook on wild game, and I was curious to see what it recommended regarding wild duck preparation. My brother, Chris, recently returned from a hunting trip with my Uncle Phil in Louisiana. He brought home several wild duck breasts and some homemade duck/venison/pork/whatever sausage. I was excited to read the author’s thoughts on preparing the wild duck. Well, to my surprise, I ended up flipping to a page in the back (must’ve been the side-dish section) about Coleslaw.

Now, I realize that it isn’t exactly coleslaw season, but the recipe immediately caught my eye because it included fennel. I am not a huge fan of traditional creamy coleslaw, so I am always looking for new recipes that deviate a bit from the traditional. Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables. I think it is the most under-appreciated vegetable. The texture is reminiscent of celery and the taste is of very mild black licorice. It is terrific raw, but it is also dreamy when roasted or braised. I am sure there are a million ways to prepare fennel- what is your favorite? So when I saw this recipe, I thought - why not coleslaw?

My refrigerator is brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables that need to be used up – so lucky for me, I had nearly all the ingredients on hand to throw this dish together except the fennel seeds. I do think this coleslaw would benefit from the addition of fennel seeds (the recipe creator must have known what s/he was doing!). However, if you are skittish about too much licorice flavor, maybe it is better to leave them out. My dad, who is the ultimate coleslaw fan and taste-tester, pronounced this recipe “quite good”. I don’t think it was a 5-star rating; however, my dad is so obsessed with another coleslaw that I make that I am not sure any recipe could live up to it. Don’t worry; I will share that recipe with you in the future.

Millie hoped I would share some coleslaw with her, but instead she got a dog treat. How could I resist her face?
Wildwood Fennel Coleslaw
Serves 6-8
1 small head cabbage
1 small fennel bulb
2 carrots, peeled & grated
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 T fennel seeds, toasted and ground
3/4 t salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Removed the tough outer leaves of the cabbage and fennel, and slice them very thinly, discarding their cores. Combine in a large bowl and mix with the carrots and onion. Add the remaining ingredients and toss.
Let sit in the refrigerator for one hour to allow the flavors to blend. Serve chilled.


Laura said...

Ha--I think that John and I bought that book for Mom and Dad. Actually I think I told John to buy that book when we were first dating and he needed a Christmas host gift of sorts for Mom and Dad.

Dhivya said...

nice idea..

Erica said...

That sounds yummy! We get fennel from our farm share in the summer and I didn't know what to do with it. I'll have to try the slaw. But I did make this salad I saw on FoodTv... and I highly recommend it!:

Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Show: Everyday Italian

1 bulb fennel, halved and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
5 slices pancetta
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces (about 6 to 7 cups) mixed salad greens
Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, toss together fennel, pancetta, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the ingredients on the baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until the pancetta is crisp and the fennel is caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, place the salad greens, crumbled pancetta, and caramelized fennel. Toss the salad with the Red Wine Vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Yield: scant 1/2 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Josie said...

Laura- well in case you were wondering, it didn't say much regarding the wild duck - just cook as usual!

Dhivya- thanks for visiting! :)

Erica- omg brown sugar on salty ham? I am so making this. I could just eat the caramelized part plain - but I guess I have to add in the lettuce for it to be healthy, huh? I think it would be really good on pasta or with some additional veggies roasted as a side dish to a hearty winter meal.

swirlingnotions said...

I love fennel in coleslaw (also love it shaved in salads . . . mmmm)! And I'm totally with you on preferring the vinegary ones to the mayonnaisy ones. Sometimes, when I'm wanting an added hit of fennel flavor, I'll crush a few seeds in a mortar and pestle (with cumin if I'm in the mood) and add it to whatever dressing I'm working with . . . it really, REALLY good with roasted beets too :-).

It's so good to have your voice on Swirling Notions . . . glad to have found your blog!

PS . . . My Rhodesian Ridgeback, Talisker, is a fixture in my kitchen too!

Erika W. said...

I also love fennel!! No particular favorite way to prepare it, I'll eat it any and every way-which is odd, considering I don't like anise flavored anything.

I love the idea of putting it in a slaw- I'll have to remember that.

Joe said...

Another fennel fan checking in - this sounds great Josie!

Josie said...

Woohoo! Fennel fans all around :)

Lia- I love roasted beets too- the best combo is fennel and roasted beets with a nice vinegary dressing.

Erika & Joe- thanks for popping by! I am definitely keeping an eye out for more fennel recipes to try. :)