Navy Beans and Tatsoi with Roasted Fennel

Photo by Johnny Autry of Ashville accompanied a recipe similar to mine at Cooking Light.


 The October 27 farm share from Glade Road Growing is slated to include salad mix, fennel, butternut squash, tatsoi and green peppers. 

Fennel is a  perennial bulb with a feathery top, a relative of the carrot.  You can use the fronds in salads or as a garnish. 

The bulb and younger stems are firm and crunchy and taste mildly of anise. You can serve them raw and thinly sliced in salads and slaws.  I especially like raw fennel in combination with tart fruits such peaches and tomatoes, granny smith apples or oranges.  You can also cook the bulb until tender to  bring out the anise flavor, either as part of a roasted squash or  root vegetable medley or braised with chicken

Fennel seeds (not included this week) are used to flavor stews, breads and cookies.


Serves 8

1.  The night or at least a couple of hours before you plan to eat, bring one pound of dried  navy beans (about 2 cups) to a boil in a lidded heavy- bottomed saucepan with four cups of cold water.  Simmer five minutes. Rinse, cover again with water plus two cups, add a couple of bay leaves and bring back to boil. Turn off the stove and soak at least an hour or overnight. Rinse well and drain. Cover with colder water plus an inch and start to simmer. (Add water as necessary to keep the beans barely covered).  When the beans are tender, rinse, drain and set aside.  (You can cook the beans ahead of time and refrigerate in a lidded jar.)

2.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (or you can use a counter top convection oven to roast the fennel.  Wash fennel and tatsoi  in cold water and rinse and wash a second time.  Trim fronds and stems of the fennel and reserve for another use. Thinly slice the bulb.  If the stems of the tatsoi are tough, tear the leaves off and reserve the stems for a vegetable stock.   Smash, peel and mince two or more cloves of fresh garlic. Peel and thinly slice one onion.

3.  Combine fennel, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.  red pepper, and garlic in a large bowl; toss to coat fennel. Arrange mixture in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet or on the racks in the convection oven.

4.  Roast for ten minutes or more until brown.

5.  Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat with  with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Add the onions and saute until tender and then add the  beans and cook together another 2 minutes.  Add fennel mixture and the tatsoi and cook until the tatsoi is wilted.

6.  Serve warm.  I like this recipe over cooked whole wheat pasta or rice and sprinkled with grated Asiago cheese.