Wild fennel and broccoli shots and a steak salad
Last night the rain was pouring down, hammering the windows making the last night strays from the pub scurry past to get home as soon as possible rather than doing their usual leisurely walk home. The reason I know is because they are usually quite loud, mainly happy and laughing. The rain seems to have washed that away and I could only hear hurried steps. It is quite cold outside so I guess walking home from the pub late at night in the pouring rain must have been a little like ending your night with a very cold shower. It made me appreciate being dry and warm inside.
I fell asleep and the sun was shining when I woke up. It is still cold outside but a lovely day. We went for a walk and I found the first wild fennel of the year! I hadn’t expected to forage so this was an unexpected and lovely treat.
The views were stunning.
I grew up by the sea and there is something special about living near water. It creates an ever changing landscape and always gives me a sense of space. The wild fennel was plentiful and inspiring and I couldn’t wait to cook with it, the smell was so strong.
Finding the wild fennel coincided with Angie’s amazing Fiesta Friday party, a celebration, part 1 of the party anniversary. Part one is nibbles and starters, a great way to start a party! I thought I would start by bringing broccoli and wild fennel shots and a big plate of steak salad. The salad isn’t quite an appetizer but it is easy to pick from and it is a great mix of hot and cold, filling but still quite light.
Wild fennel and broccoli shots
preparation time 10 minutes
cooking time 15 minutes
serves 4 as an amuse bouche or 2 as a small starters
- 1 broccoli stalk
- 1 broccoli floret
- 4 dl or 2 cups of chicken stock
- 1 spring onion/scallion
- 2 sprigs of wild fennel
- 2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese
- 1 small potato
- A small piece of cooked pork
Place the chicken stock in a pan. Slice the spring onion. Peel the broccoli stalk and potato, cut up in to chunks. Cut the top layer of the broccoli floret and save for garnish, chop up the rest. Add the broccoli, 2 sprigs of wild fennel, stalks removed, scallion and potato to the stock and bring to a boil. Boil down until half of the liquid remains.
When half of the liquid remains pour the soup in to the blender with the blue cheese until smooth. Separate the pork in to strings. Pour the soup in to shot glasses or how you wish to serve it and garnish with a few pieces of crumbled cheese, the broccoli tops and the pork.
I had a craving for red meat and the butcher had a skirt steak that would be great with a salad. isn’t that a perfect combination!
Sliced steak with butternut squash and wild fennel salad
preparation time 15 minutes
cooking time 45 minutes
oven 180C or 360F
- 500 gr or 17.6 oz skirt steak
- 1/2 butternut squash
- 20 Brussels sprouts
- 4 wild fennel fronds
- 2 tbsp oil, I used rapeseed oil but any vegetable oil works
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 clementine
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 endive heads
- 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup pecan nuts
Peel and cube the butternut squash. Remove the outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Place in a plastic bag. Mix the oil with the salt, pepper, sesame seeds, paprika powder and the cayenne pepper. Add it to the vegetables in the bag and mix until all of the vegetable pieces are covered.
Roast until cooked through and they start to caramelize in the edges. Depending on the size it should take about 35-40 minutes.
Slice the endive last minute before serving. Dry roast the pecan nuts, break them up slightly and add a little salt and pepper when they are hot. Set aside to cool. Peel the clementine and divide in to segments. Cut each segment in to four pieces. Cover and set aside until you are ready to put the salad together.
I did a blue cheese dressing as I love the combination of the bitterness of the endive and the saltiness and flavour of the blue cheese.
Clementine blue cheese dressing
preparation time 5 minutes
cooking time 0 minutes
- 125 gr or 4.5 oz blue cheese
- 4 heaped tbsp low fat yoghurt
- juice of 1/2 clementine
- 1 spring onion/scallion
Give the cheese a rough cut, slice the spring onion and place all of the ingredients in a food processor. I like a little texture in my blue cheese dressing so don’t mix it too much.
Trim the meat and add salt and pepper. Heat oil in a pan and add the meat when the oil is hot. The skirt steak is so thin it cooks quickly and you need a nice caramelized sear on the outside. When cooked as you like it let it rest for about five minutes.
Take the roasted butternut and Brussels sprouts out of the oven. Plate up, slice the endive and scatter over. Add the wild fennel but not the stalk, the roasted pecan nuts and mix. Drizzle over the blue cheese dressing and serve the rest on the side.
Slice the beef against the grain and place on top with the steak juices. I had an onion butter to go with the steak and added this before serving.
I am now heading off to celebrate the first Fiesta Friday anniversary. If you have cooked something come and join me or just click through here and prepare to get inspired and hungry. Happy Fiesta Friday anniversary!
It looks like it might be the biggest party yet and she has two lovely co hosts, Hilda, Along the Grapevine and Julianna, Foodie on Board. I am not quite sure where to start describing their blogs but besides beautiful pictures they are innovative, inspiring and of course, full of simply delicious recipes!