Fennel, the feather like herby green that has been dormant the past few months in the border of my garden, has suddenly made its seasonal appearance. The past few days, it has been waving its luxurious fronds at me vying for my attention and it certainly did attract my attention. First I remembered when I bought it home, in a small pot, just a seedling. Now look at it, its almost as big as me (almost). Secondly, as I brushed my hand on the fronds to release its aniseedy-licorice fragrance, I begun to wonder how to incorporate it in my cooking.
Many people tend to use the young fragrant leaves of the herb fennel to infuse fish and seafood. I like to include it in fresh salads and risotto's, but today it was a change. I had made my mind up to make a Carrot Souffle Tart and to this I would add a little of this anise seed flavoured herb. You would think that the carrots would make this a heavy souffle and therefore fail to rise, but I assure you this Carrot-Fennel Souffle Tart is very light and full of flavour, from both the carrot and the fennel.
I am submitting this recipe to Grow Your Own (GYO), now in its fourth year. It was started by Andrea Meyer of Andrea's Recipes who is also hosting this month. GYO is a food blogging event that celebrates the foods we grow ourselves and the dishes we create using our homegrown produce.
Serves 4 – 6
For the shortcrust pastry
170g plain flour
A pinch of salt
85g cold butter
2 tablespoons cold water
Method for short crust pastry
Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add 2 tablespoons cold water to the mixture. Mix to a firm dough. It may be necessary to add more water. Chill, wrapped for at least 30 minutes before using.
Preheat oven to gas mark 6. Roll out the pastry and use to line a 8- 9 inch round dish, then back blind.
For the Carrot-Fennel Souffle filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
180g carrots, grated
2 tablespoon plain flour
50g Cheddar cheese, grated
½ teaspoon fennel herb leaves, minced
Optional: ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, separated.
alt and pepper to taste
Method for the filling
Heat the oil and fry the onion until it is soft. Add the garlic and carrots, stirring them until they are really soft. Add the flour and milk, and stir until the mixture thickens. Add the grated cheese fennel herb, fennel seeds if using, salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and beat in the egg yolks.