Nomad’s Jacqui Challinor takes fennel, fronds and all, and combines it with leftover sourdough for a fabulously frugal feed.
MINIMISING WASTE IS something we all need to be conscious of, not only from a cost perspective but so we receive the full nutritional value from the fruit and veg we spend our money on. Working long hours, I often find that some of the produce I buy tends to sit around longer than I’d like, so all of my veg scraps go into the freezer to be used later for soups and stocks. My recipe for barbecue fennel, ajo
blanco and green olives is a great way to use fennel, tops and all, and also any leftover sourdough you have lying around.
To make the ajo blanco, soak 30g crustless sourdough in water for 5 minutes. Remove bread from water and squeeze out excess liquid. Whiz 70g blanched almonds and one garlic clove in a blender until finely chopped. Add sourdough and 25ml extra virgin olive oil, and whiz to a paste. On low speed, add 190ml chilled water in a thin, steady stream until smooth. Add a splash of sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt flakes. Stand to thicken slightly.
Halve 2 heads fennel lengthways, reserving fronds. Brush fennel with extra virgin olive oil and grill on a hot barbecue or in a chargrill pan for 2-3 minutes each side or until coloured. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
Spoon ajo blanco into a serving bowl, top with fennel, scatter with chopped green olives and fennel fronds, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to serve.