So I was looking for medieval recipes (if I am going to cook with a cook book anyway…) for vegetables to use up some greens I had going off. I found this cute recipe below and since it called for cheap ingredients I already had in the fridge I decided to experiment with it.
I love that it calls for the fennel bulb not the leaves, since it is much easier to get the bulb here.
Anyone who cooks a fast soup knows about softening veggies before adding a broth. I wondered what adding water instead of broth would be like. I also wondered what frying fennel in lard would be like.
My daughter declares it “good” and that “it tastes like pho” which is her highest compliment. I think the flavours worked together and it would be even better as a campfire dish–which I will try at my next opportunity.
I think this was a dish meant for an invalid or for maybe winter. I am just tired and the air conditioner is set too high.
Take white fennel minced finely, and then fry it with a little of the white part of a leek minced finely, with egg or lard, and put in a bit of water and saffron and salt, and boil it, and put in beaten eggs, if you want. Anonimo Toscano, Libro della Cocina (late 14th or early 15th c.) Ariane Helou’s translation
* 1 heaping tbsp lard **
* 1/3 cup leek, a few inches of the white end, minced
* 1 cup fennel, white from the bulb end, minced
* 2 cups water
* 1 pinch saffron
* 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
* 1 egg, beaten
- Heat frying pan on medium-high, add lard to melt.
- Add fennel and leek, reduce heat to medium low, and stir to soften veggies.
- Pour fennel mixture into a sauce pan, add water and salt. Heat sauce pan on medium-high until mixture comes to boil.
- Add beaten egg into fennel mixture while stirring. Bring to boil a second time, then remove from heat.
- Serve hot***.
** Use vegetable lard or olive oil if making for a vegetarian.
*** and with rice noodles if you want to take the pho thing a little too far.