We have amazing raised beds this year, filled with rich black soil. Combine that with the fancy hoops houses my husband build-and we have a big jump on the growing season. I grew lots of fennel last year and one plant overwintered. It is already producing lush green leaves, perfect for a late spring dinner out on our picnic tale. This is a very elegant dish that even kids love. You might have to scrape off some of the green olives and onions for them though. It is super quick and easy to make too. The crushed fennel and other ingredients make a nice crispy topping that is rich and very tasty.
Roasted Fennel Crusted Chicken
Take one whole defrosted chicken and Spatchcook/butterfly it (this is really easy to do and really reduces cooking time, look for instructions on-line). Place it in a large pan for roasting with 1/4 cup pf water in the bottom
On top of the chicken add
Salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup of white wine
3 TBSP of lemon juice
3TBSP of crushed fennel seeds
3 TBSP of olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 onion sliced
2 TBSP of pickled capers
1/4-1/2 cup sliced green onions or leeks
garnish with coarsely chopped fresh fennel leaves
Bake for 45-60 minutes , until done. Exact roasting time will depend on your oven and the size of your chicken.
Foeniculum is a member of the parsley family. It can grow 5-6 feet in height. You will find fennel growing wild or cultivated as a perennial all over the world. When crushed the plant material produces a strong licorice scent. The long carrot shaped root produces a large, white, fleshy “bulb” similar to celery. This stem narrows to produce a handful of finely grooved (sometimes hollow) stalks that are blue green in color transitioning to a brighter shade at the tips. These parts are often used as a more flavorful substitute for celery in soups or stews. The leaves are few in nature but finely pinnate and feathery like a fern. They can grow at the end of long stalks or clustered at the base of the bulb. Fresh or dried they make a nice addition to salads and egg dishes when finely chopped. The flowers form a compound umbel full of lots of yellow pollen. The fruit becomes a hard, green seed that is highly aromatic and used in all kinds of sweet or savory recipes.
Fennel contains several volatile oils which make it a fantastic stimulant for the appetite and digestion. Historically the whole plant has been used to treat colic, gas, indigestion, heartburn, bloating, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and hiccups. As a bitter it aids the digestive system to process fats and assimilate the various components found in food. It stabilizes blood sugar and decongests the liver (jaundice). This plant clears mucous and stagnation. It supports lungs dealing with asthma or bronchitis. Fennel addresses all manner of “menstrual complaints'”. Herbalists have prescribed fennel as a diuretic and to treat kidney stones. An infusion is helpful for laryngitis or hoarseness. A tea is useful for nursing mothers hoping to increase their flow of breastmilk. A decoction can be used as an eyewash for irritation and strain. An oil rub can be applied to sore muscles or to treat rheumatism. As a mouthwash it is very affective for bad breath. Fennel is a gentle herb that works well in formulas for babies and children. It is one of the few Western herbs that can be used to support “spleen” .
Energetics: pungent, sweet, warm, moist
Contraindications: Avoid large/therapeutic doses in pregnancy