CSA Week 20: Pan Fried Fennel Patties

I picked up my last organic produce share of the 2011 season from Growing Things Farm at Ballard Farmers Market.

Roxy and Cassius are content with the last CSA share of the season

Although more abundant than the first share in late June, the dominant color of produce is green—which I’m happy to see.  In our house we eat a lot of greens. From salads to sautes, green vegetables are part of almost every meal.  This week’s share included:

  • 1 bunch green kale
  • 1 bunch turnip greens
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 lb salad mix
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts (freshly cut from stalk)
  • 1 yellow winter squash
  • 1 large bunch tiny fennel bulbs with fronds
  • half dozen eggs
Last night I roasted the Brussels sprouts and served it with baked, wild rocksole and carrot and herbed couscous.  Meals have been built around the contents of the weekly CSA shares.  When it’s time to cook, I look at what we already have, and then build a meal around it.  It takes creative thinking sometimes, but at least the outcome is always fresh.
I have a recipe for panfried fennel cakes that I got from Alice Waters, who at the time was visiting the French Culinary Academy in New York City. It’s a really simple recipe – one that I transcribed in my notebook, that I haven’t seen in her books or online. It’s a really great way to showcase a bunch of tender fennel bulbs, like the ones I got in my CSA share yesterday.
Pan Fried Fennel Patties
  • 5-6 small fennel bulbs, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (preferably crushed in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of coarse sea salt)
  • 2 medium eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika (whatever you prefer though smoked may overpower the fennel)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano or good quality domestic parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • lemon
Combine the first six ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until evenly incorporated.  In a frying pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil and wait until it just starts to glisten.  Take a heaping tablespoon-size mound of fennel mixture and make a small patty with your hands.  Place the patty into the hot oiled pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until light golden brown.  Depending on the size of the pan, you can cook a few at a time, but be careful not to overcrowd the pan or the patties will be soggy.  As each one is done, lift each patty gently with a spatula and place on clean chefs paper or a smooth towel to drain excess fat.  Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Serve right away.  Can be reheated but they won’t be crispy.

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