Something green in Minnesota, you say? Try this. It may be coated with heavy wet spring snow and made out of metal, but it’s green.Oh wait. You crave, as I do, something newly green and alive? Well, how about some tulips manfully cutting through three inches of snow?
I know, I know. I promised no more whining about the WINTER THAT NEVER ENDS but this is just some light-hearted pouting. Not the same thing, at all. Really!
A good spring snowstorm keeps you indoors and glued to the keyboard. And that can be good thing. This year, for example, I’ve decided to start some seeds indoors for the vegetable garden and to try some vegetables that I’ve never planted before. One of the plants I’m eyeing is fennel, Romy Fennel, to be precise. This type needs 75+ days of sunshine without snow to mature. Thus, it must be started indoors in zone 4b, where it’s still gray and snowy on April 16th.
Fennel is a versatile and delicious vegetable that kinda looks like celery on steroids. The taste, for those of you who don’t eat green things, (Middle Child, I’m thinking of you now.) is a mild licorice that pairs really well with potatoes. If you make a dish like raw fries, you can layer very thin slices of fennel between the potatoes slices and once the whole thing has attained a golden crust and you top that with some coarse salt flakes−well, even vegetable haters will like this one.
I think my favorite way to eat fennel is raw, though. I have a recipe for a raw fennel salad that is really good. You need a mandolin to get the fennel slices even and super thin. Otherwise, no special tools are required. This recipe is from Fine Cooking, and I get requests for it every Thanksgiving. The main ingredients are Fuyu persimmons, fennel, toasted hazelnuts and flat leaf parsley. The dressing has macerated shallots and orange zest. Really, really good. Here’s the link, if you’d care to try it.
Me, I’m off to the basement to find the grow lights and plant starter trays.