As I stated before, I was not a fan of vegetables when I was growing up. It’s only in the past few years that I’ve really discovered how good they can be. One recent addition to my repertoire is fennel, or anise as my local market labels it. The bulb is like an exotic celery – the consistency is the same, albeit a little less watery and stringy, but the flavor- well, there is flavor, which is not something that celery can really boast. Fennel has a fairly strong licorice taste and smell when raw, but that is all toned down as it cooks.
This dish, aptly named Shrimp and Fennel because I honestly don’t know how else to describe it, is very simple, and the hardest part is just chopping up the veggies. I use cooked frozen shrimp for simplicity, because there’s nothing better than being able to defrost a protein out of the freezer in only a couple of minutes. Total cook time is only about 5 minutes.
1 fennel bulb
1 pound cooked shrimp, tails removed
2 tomatoes (you can also use sun-dried tomatoes for a more pronounced tomato flavor – cook these longer)
splash of half and half
2-3 ounces of feta cheese
Chop a bulb of fennel into bite-size pieces. Also dice 2 tomatoes and set aside.
Saute the fennel in a little bit of olive oil over medium heat until the fennel becomes translucent. Add the shrimp to warm through. After a minute, pour off as much as the liquid as you can, then add a splash of half and half and about 2-3 ounces of crumbled feta. Mix until the feta starts to melt a little and the cream and cheese form a sauce.
As I was enjoying my dinner, I began to think that fennel might be a good snack raw as well. Anyone have any thoughts about what would make a good dip to complement the anise flavor?