If you have been following Mia Kouppa even a little bit, you’ll know that we get most of our inspiration from our parents; they are, after all, the reason behind this little blog of ours. However, we also get inspired by other great Greek home cooks, the culinary world around us in our great city of Montreal, and the varied and rich ethnic and cultural food influences we are presented with every day. So much inspiration…so much great stuff to eat! But it doesn’t stop there. We are also influenced and inspired by the friends we may never meet in person; the food bloggers, Instagrammers, Pinners and Facebookers we follow, admire, and wish we could share a meal with. This grilled fennel is a direct result of that admiration.
We originally saw this simple but brilliant idea for fennel on the Instagram page of Food Blogger of Canada, the place where us food bloggers convene, aye! They, in turn, had shared this lovely recipe by the blog She Loves Biscotti, who had posted it on her Instagram page. Then we realized that Maria from She Loves Biscotti (and we love that name!) is a food blogger from Montreal with an Italian heritage! How crazy! Given that Italian and Greeks are often considered the same-same, and that we are all from the same city, it seemed that this fennel recipe had come full circle for us. All that’s left now is for us to share a Greek coffee (or an espresso) with Maria and talk about how small this great big world actually is!
We bought the gorgeous fennel that we used in this recipe from the Jean-Talon market. If you are ever visiting Montreal, be sure to pay this place a visit. Our fennel was beautiful (yes, beautiful), fresh and came with it’s long stalks and fennel fronds. To prepare this grilled fennel we chopped off the stalks and the fronds, some of which were used to help brush on the marinade of some chicken that we were grilling. Pretty smart don’t you think?
Really, the most difficult part of this recipe is preparing the fennel. You need to be careful to slice it into 1/2 inch thick slices while keeping the core intact; otherwise your fennel will fall apart. You also need to be able to cut off just enough of the end of the core so that any brown parts are removed, but the integrity of the core is maintained.
When slicing your fennel, we found that the easiest thing to do was to cut it in half and to then cut each half into half by laying it cut side down on the cutting board. Lay your hand over the fennel, keeping your fingers out of harms way. Be careful! This fennel is good, but it’s not worth losing an thumb over.
We grilled our fennel over a charcoal grill, over medium heat. Regardless of the type of grill you use (gas or charcoal), the heat should be set to a medium high; you want to cook the fennel so that it gets a bit soft, and has a lovely char on parts of it. Remember, fennel is a vegetable…you can actually eat it raw. The grilling simply adds a different element of flavour, which is amazing!
Mia Kouppa: Grilled fennel
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
- olive oil for drizzling
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- To prepare your fennel for grilling you need to slice them widthwise, keeping the core intact (otherwise your fennel will fall apart).
- Cut off or peel away any hard, outer parts of the fennel and cut away the outer end of the core. Then slice the fennel carefully in half and then cut each half into 1/2 inch thick slices. Each medium sized fennel bulb should give you 4 slices of fennel.
- Brush both sides of each slice with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano, on both sides.
- Place on a grill set over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes per side, until you get a nice golden colour on your fennel with some charred areas.
- Place on your serving platter and drizzle with a little more olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Enjoy.