Thursday, April 28, 2011

Umbelliferae Braise

I picked up some parsnips and fennel at the store to play with this week. I was going to do 2 different dishes but last night inspiration struck. I checked Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Fruit and Vegetable at the Market for flavor affinities. Parsnip and fennel share orange. They are also both members of the carrot family, Umbelliferae.

I had oranges and, grabbing them from the fridge, I noticed carrots, also members of the carrot family. Therefore I concocted an;

Umbelliferae Braise

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 fennel bulbs, quartered (fronds reserved)
4 parsnips, peeled
3 carrots, peeled
2 tablespoons reserved fennel fronds, chopped fine
2 oranges, the zest of 1 and the juice of both
salt & pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium high to high heat. Add the fennel bulbs, carrots and parsnips.

Cook until browning and caramelized on all sides (it will smell wonderful).

Remove the carrots and parsnips to a bowl as the fennel will take longer to cook.

Add the orange juice and an equal amount of water, the fennel fronds, orange zest and salt & pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to medium/medium low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Reintroduce the parsnips and carrots, cover and cook for 15 minutes more.

Remove veggies to a plate and pour cooking liquid over them. I suppose one could make a sauce by reducing the liquid over high heat and adding butter off heat. But I did not.

Any of these veggies could have been omitted and it would have still worked. Other possible additions would be celery or parsley root (to keep it Umbelliferae).

The flavors of all of these veggies are very herbal in very different and complimentary ways. I was very happy with how this came out.


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