Fennel is not something I reach for often. I enjoy anise and the cleansing bright qualities that go along with it. Yet, despite its appealing qualities I often overlook it.
Thankfully, I recently remembered its incredible taste and aroma and picked it up to use. Here is a fennel puree which we have set in my new favorite mold. We get perfect rectangles which pop out easily and provide an ideal dosage of intense flavor, in this case fennel. We pressured cooked the fennel to make it silky and smooth and then gelled it with a blend of iota and kappa carrageenan. The texture is smooth with just a touch of resiliency. As you savor each mouthful, the flavor of fennel washes over your tongue, that smooth, herbal sweetness, which only fennel can provide.
The fennel rectangle was part of a cheese course we assembled with sour strawberries (strawberries glazed in minus 8 vinegar and then dried in the oven) and Brillat Savarin. A few twists of a pepper mill, filled with grains of paradise finished the dish.