Here is something else to do with fennel fronds besides this Wednesday's recipe in The Times: Make pesto! In my new book, I’ve already admitted to being a borderline pesto fanatic, and take an enormous amount of pleasure mashing almost anything green and aromatic with garlic and nuts and oil until slick and intense.That herbal, garlicky fragrance always makes me happy.
This recipe below is terrific tossed with pasta, especially when mixed with cherry tomatoes and cubes of buffalo mozzarella. Or use it as a sauce for grilled fish, thick beef steaks, or as a condiment for all those Labor Day burgers that are hopefully coming your way this weekend.
Fennel Frond Pesto
Time: 5 minutes
1 small fennel bulb with lots of bushy fronds
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons pine nuts or sliced or slivered almonds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Chop off fennel fronds and coarsely chop enough to measure 1 cup (discard the rest of the fronds, save the fennel for later use, and of course eat the fennel bulb itself, it's great to dip into the pesto). Put the chopped fronds in a food processor or blender. Add the garlic, nuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous pinch of pepper to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Add 4 tablespoons of the oil and cheese continue to process until the mixture looks like pesto. Season with more salt to taste.
Makes 3/4 cup