ITALIAN COOKING AND RECIPES   Authentic And Traditional  Italian Food Recipes
FENNEL = FINOCCHIO Fennel provides both a herb and a spice. All of plant sections are edible: roots, stems and leaves.The spice comes from the dried seeds. Fennel is native to the Mediterranean, and is an ancient and popular herb well-known to the ancient Greeks and distributed across the European countries by Imperial Rome. Fennel leaves are widely-used in French and Italian cooking in sauces for fish and in mayonnaise. In Italy fennel is  used to season pork roasts and spicy sausages, particularly the Florentine salami finocchiona. It is usually regarded as one of the greatest herbs for seafood recipes. A lot of liquors are flavoured using fennel, such as fennouillette, akvavit, gin and also  used in distilling absinthe. Seeds may be used whole or ground . Keep in the dark in airtight food storage containers. Whenever used raw, the texture is crispy and also the flavour is rather strong and anisseedy. Cooked, it's much softer and more mellow. It is available throughout the year, however it is best from the beginning of July to the end of September. When possible, pick the small, young bulbs, because they're more tender. They must look white, without any scars, and feel quite heavy for their size. The feathery green tops must be fresh and vibrant, without any yellowing. Rinse, and trim off the green tops (they may be used as a garnish). Cut off the shoots and root and remove the harder external layer (when the bulb is particularly small and soft you may leave this layer on). In order to cook it whole, remove the hard middle core from the bottom, making a cone-shaped hole, or slice if you like. Additionally, cut into quarters and get rid of the core from each of them (but not too much, or the quarters will break apart). Fresh cut fennel must be wrapped in moist kitchen paper, put into a perforated bag and kept in the refrigerator. It can last for around three days.
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