Each month, we’re blogging out original and delicious recipes featuring one of our Reluctant Trading spices. The recipes are formulated exclusively for us by the super-talented and super-friendly Sarah Marshall.
So what’s our spice of the month, you ask? Drumroll please - fennel seed!
If you’re not completely familiar with this beautiful spice, or the amazing plant from which the seed comes, there is no need to frond. (That’s a little fennel humor for you. “Fronds” are the lacy green, top part of the fennel plant. BTW, all bad fennel jokes you come across are mine, and mine alone, and should not be blamed on Sarah.)
Fennel is one of those amazing plants that give us endless possibilities. The entire plant is edible, each part bringing a versatile use. The fronds are delicate, feathery, and light with a subtle pungent note. The stalks are fibrous and crunchy, with a thick anise flavor.
The bulbs are the most commonly used, the meatier part of the plant, with a mild licorice flavor. My absolute favorite part of the fennel plant comes at the tail end of its life. The fennel pollen and fennel seeds are the true culinary shining stars.
In the Pacific Northwest we are no strangers to fennel at the farmers market, however the seeds and pollen are a bit harder to come by. I love planting fennel in my garden because, it is the one plant I can accidently let go to seed and be excited about the results.
Scott has sourced the most amazing fennel seeds; they are vibrant green, with tons of flavor packed inside each tiny pod. With this month’s recipes, I have attempted to highlight both whole and ground fennel seeds, as I think they both bring new flavors and textures to your dishes.
– Sarah Marshall
Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with Reluctant Trading Sea Salt and freshly ground Reluctant Trading Tellicherry black pepper.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet (that has a fitted lid), over medium-high heat.
Add butter to the skillet. Once the butter begins to melt and bubble, place the pork chops in the pan 1-inch apart. Press lightly with a spatula to create even contact. Let the pork chops brown, by not moving or touching them for 4 minutes.
While chops are cooking sprinkle the top with fennel seeds. (it will look like a lot, but trust me, it will taste great). Once browned, flip the chops. Drizzle a splash of olive oil around the outside of the pan.
Add the shallots to the pan. Let cook untouched for 3 minutes, until golden.
Once browned, flip again. Pour wine into pan, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Flip the chops, add the capers, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove the chops and let them rest on a plate.
Whisk in the lemon juice and reduce the contents in the pan over high heat. Continuously whisk for 5-8 minutes, until sauce is thick and glossy.
Plate pork chops, top with sauce, and garnish with parsley.
Fennel is one of those amazing plants that give us endless possibilities. The entire plant is edible, each part bringing a versatile use.
Sarah is the owner of Marshall’s Haute Sauce. Her small batch sauce company grew from her love of gardening, and background in home preserving. Sarah is passionate about farmers, artisan producers, and canning seasonal ingredients. She spends her free time teaching canning classes, experimenting in the kitchen, and organizing a local canning club- Portland Preservation Society. Her love for canning and preserving all things local, inspired her to write Preservation Pantry: Modern Canning From Root To Top And Stem To Core. Be sure to check out Marshall’s Haute Sauce Variety Pack. Best hot sauce evah!
Also, be sure to check out Sarah’s other fennel seed recipe this month for Fennel JoJos with Tzatziki Sauce.