I was very excited when I saw fennel in flower on the side of the road when we drove south to Hobart. It’s everywhere! If it wasn’t in flower, I wouldn’t have realised that’s what it was: the leaves are so feathery I doubt I’d have been able to identify them driving past. I finally picked up the courage to ask my Pop to stop so I could pick some and was pleasantly surprised by how mild the flavour was compared to the cultured varieties. My culinary mind was racing, thinking how I could use this wonderful find.
This ‘pesto’ is delicious. It’s vegan (it just doesn’t need any cheese), ridiculously good to eat, incredibly versatile and crazy cheap to make (especially if you also forage the lemon – and as I did, the garlic too). You could stir a big scoop of this through a bowl of pasta and garnish with some fennel flowers as I did. You could spread it on toast and add a poached egg if you like. You could up the macadamias and use it as a dip. You could dress a potato salad with it. You could serve it with fish. You could serve it with some summery barbequed pork chops or smear it on a rack of pork before baking as a crust. You could toss it through some free range chicken pieces and bake them into deliciousness. You get the idea. If you see some of this wild fennel, you should totally pick it. I couldn’t recommend this recipe any more highly.
Makes 1-2 cups
|1-2||cups||wild fennel leaves, finely chopped|
|2||whole||lemon (zest and juice)|
|1/2||cup (or more)||olive oil|
Peel the zest (not the white pith) from the lemon and place it in the mortar and pestle or food processor with the salt, fennel, garlic and macadamias and pound to a course paste. Squeeze in the juice from the lemons (being careful to catch any seeds), continue to process and add the olive oil. If you would like the pesto to be thinner, add more olive oil till it reaches your desired consistency. Transfer to a sealable container, cover with a thin layer of olive oil and close the lid.