Fennels are amongst those vegetables that I used to love and eat a lot when I was a kid… And I still do!
Quite often after dinner, my dad and I would dip fresh fennel slices into pinzimonio (olive oil, lemon and salt vinaigrette) made by him and that was like our special ritual.
By getting more and more into cooking, I have learned that fennels taste delicious too when cooked and there are a million ways to enjoy them.
This fennel tart recipe literally came out of nowhere during one of those boring moments staring at the ceiling. Let me tell you that it didn’t last long either: by the time I finished shooting, the tart was gone!
INGREDIENTS for the filling:
80g gram flour
50g cornflour or potato starch
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp garam masala or curry (optional)
½ tsp sweet paprika
1 spring onion
1 garlic clove
70g frozen spinach
5 - 6 rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes
1 small fennel
INGREDIENTS for the shortcrust pastry:
185g wholemeal flour
40g plain flour
40g olive oil
80g cold water
A pinch of salt
Start by making the filling: mix together the gram flour, cornflour, water, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, garam masala and sweet paprika. Place it in the fridge to rest for at least one hour.
Make the shortcrust pastry by mixing together all the ingredients. Knead the dough until smooth then let it rest for at least 30 mins. If it gets crumbly when kneading it, just add a bit more water.
Whilst the shortcrust pastry is resting, stir-fry the spring onion together with the garlic clove. Add the frozen spinach and the sun-dried tomatoes (sliced). Add 1 or 2 tbsp water, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Thinly slice one fennel lengthwise, place it in a lunchbox, seal the lid and microwave for 3 mins. Alternatively, steam the slices in a saucepan for 5-10 mins.
Stretch the pastry with a rolling pin, about 3mm thick, place it in a round cake tin (+/- 23-26 cm diameter), pinch the surface with a fork and bake at 180°C for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the spinach & sun-dried tomatoes with the gram flour batter.
Take the pastry out of the oven, pour the filling, then top with the steamed fennel slices. If you have any leftover pastry, just garnish it as you like. Bake at 200°C for 40 mins.
It’s delicious either warm or cold and perfect for a picnic!