There is something so wonderful about going to the Farmer’s market and looking at all the beautiful, home-grown produce, herbs, plants and flowers for sale. If you can’t have your own garden, I think this is the closest you can get to incredibly fresh and beautiful food.
A couple of weeks ago when I went to the market, I spotted some fresh herbs, some of which I had never used before. The man at the organic herb stand told me that the chive flowers, featured above in the salad, were all the rave with the local chefs. I tried it fresh in my salad and it was, oooooooooh, spicy! (I ate the whole flower in one bite). If you like onion flavor, this would be a great herb for you. But I would recommend cutting them up a bit instead of devouring them whole like I did. You can also saute these flowers and the chopped stems, and use them in vegetable or meat dishes.
I also decided to try the “Anise Hyssop” herb, just right of the salad in the picture above. If you like licorice or anise flavor, this herb is for you. It is quite strong but has a very lovely flavor and can be added to salads fresh or chopped up and used in fish, chicken or vegetable dishes.
I decided to put the anise hyssop in a dish I created with golden beets and fennel. Now, these two vegetables may not be favorites of some people. But again, if you like licorice or anise flavor, you will like this dish even if beets aren’t your favorite vegetable.
Here is the recipe:
GOLDEN BEET and FENNEL SAUTE with ANISE-HYSSOP
Time: 50-55 minutes
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
3 medium-large golden beets
1 head of fennel
½ cup chopped fresh anise-hyssop herb
½-1 tsp salt, to taste
1. Scrub and trim the ends off the beets and remove any hairs. You can peel them but don’t have too. Cut them into small ½” cubes.
2. In a large and heavy skillet with a lid or heavy Dutch oven, add the olive oil and heat to medium heat. Add the beet cubes, cover and continue to heat at medium heat until the beets start to “sizzle.” Stir occasionally.
3. Reduce heat to just above low heat and continue to cover for another 10 –15 minutes, or until you can insert a fork into a beet but it is still firm.
4. Cut the end off the fennel bulb. Cut the stalks off of the bulb. Cut the bulb lengthwise into fourths, and then slice so that you have smallish pieces. Cut the stalks and fronds as well into small ½” slices. Add the fennel to the beets after the 10-15 minutes on low heat. Add the chopped herbs and stir.
5. Cover and cook the beets and fennel together for another 20-30 minutes, or until they are soft. Stir occasionally.
6. Add additional olive oil or flax oil and salt to taste.