Friday, September 2, 2011

Working with Fennel


Fennel is one of those tricky roots that people have a hard time cooking with. Most people, like myself, do not like the taste of black licorice, which is the taste you get from eating fennel. However, I like a challenge, and 2 huge fennel roots were only 2 dollars at Trader Joes. So I bought them, much to the surprise on my boyfriend's face. To be accommodating in this new adventurous dinner task I had given myself, I decided to incorporate the root into one of his favorite foods. The Pizza!

To begin, you always need a good dough. I have to admit, I am not the best at making a pizza dough, especially since I do not have a stand mixer (one day!). BUT, Trader Joes has an amazing pizza dough, which comes in plain white, wheat, and herb. I opted for the whole wheat dough, as I thought the fennel would go well with something more earthy.

1/2 a red onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 fennel root
1 standard sized pizza dough
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 slices mozzarella cheese (if using shredded, 8 ounces)
grated parmesean
3 eggs (optional)
To start, you need to lay out your pizza dough. If you have bought a premade dough, follow their instructions. I would say otherwise, 425 for 10 minutes should be enough time to cook your pizza. I opted to not use my stone this time, and make a rectangular shaped pizza. The choice is yours.


Next, you need to start the vegetables sweating and getting them caramelized. First, drizzle olive oil in your pan to get it hot. Slice the onion into rings, slicing those rings once into semi circles. Put them into the olive oil (they take the longest to cook down). Next, cut off the green tops and the bottom of the fennel. Slice half a bulb and break apart the slices. Add them to the onions in the pan. Next, add the mushrooms (I got presliced. You can always wash and cut regular mushrooms).

Yes... I have a pig shaped cutting board. I love pigs :)

Add some salt and pepper to the vegetables, just enough to season. After about 7-10 minutes, the vegetables should be cooked down a bit and looking caramelized like so...


Set the vegetables aside. Next, take the butter and 2 kinds of garlic, and melt them together. You want the butter just melted, but do not want the garlic to start cooking and turning brown.


When you butter is done, smear every edge of your pizza dough with this garlic butter. To me, fennel does NOT go well with tomato sauce. I opted for a butter garlic base instead. But I also like the crust to have a little flavor, which is why I extend the butter to the edges.


Add the vegetables on top of the buttery dough, making sure to spread out evenly.


Cover the pizza with cheese. The reason I am using slices is because I chose a rectangular shape. You can use shredded cheese without a problem either. If you don't have Mozzarella, use any other milder cheese, like Monteray Jack.


Now, if you do not want to add eggs to your pizza, the process ends here. I like to sprinkle a little bit of Parmesan cheese on my pizza after 10 minutes is up, and then let is cook for another minute or two to get that cheese bubbly. However, if you are feeling adventurous, try this!

My boyfriend loves eggs. I love eggs too, but Jacob could put an egg on anything (this is not an exaggeration). Per his request, I decided to add some egg to this pizza. And actually, the silky yolk was delicious with the rest of what went on the pizza. Maybe he is a genius after all ;)

To start, if you are going to add eggs, cook your pizza for 8 minutes. Remove it from the oven and just crack three eggs on top of it, raw.


If you want to add Parmesan, now is the time. I would sprinkle it on top of the eggs.


Cook this for 4 1/2 more minutes. You should get a perfectly cooked pizza with perfectly cooked eggs on top that still have runny yolks. Slice up pieces, serve, and enjoy!

And now, for some added cuteness of the day, Brody after his bath! He decided to get dirty while I was cooking, and then fell victim to the bathtub...puppies never learn.

video

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