Orzo Stuffed Fennel

I. Love. Fennel. It may not be in season anymore, but I don’t let little things like that bother me. I will find fennel. And so help me, I will stuff it and bake it. Today, it’s a Mediterranean orzo salad. Tomorrow it could be kimchi. The day after it could be Nutella. There’s no telling what I’ll put in fennel. However, I highly recommend this salad! It makes a little more than is needed to fill to fennel bulbs, so you have some left over to eat while the fennel bakes. Yeah, I went there. Everyone knows that’s what will happen. See, it’s possible to say it like it is without coming across as a boneheaded bigot! Learn something new everyday.

 

INGREDIENTS

 

2 fennel bulbs

2 tomatoes

3 oz black olives, pitted

½ pomegranate

7 cloves garlic

1 ½ cups orzo

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons paprika

Black pepper

Start with the garlic. If you’re one of those wimps who can’t handle large quantities of raw garlic, cook it a bit first. If not, congratulations! And also, have some breath mints nearby.

Peel

nd chop the garlic, then put it in a pinch bowl. There’s going to be a lot of pinch bowls in this recipe. I like pinch bowls.

Oh, and it would be handy to have a pot of water on, so you can boil the orzo. I really, really, really like orzo. I’m not sure if it’s pasta, or rice, or some mutation thereof, and I don’t want to find out, cause I like the mystery. I don’t get out much.

Now drain the olives,

and slice them up really fine. Really finely? Really fine? What is reality?! That escalated quickly.

Anyways! Back to the olives. When they’re all nice and sliced, put them in a bowl. Smile cause bowls make you happy.

 

And now? Now the pomegranate!

Behead it,

then cut it into quarters.

Now find a big ol’ bowl, a wooden spoon, and some vexations, and start whacking the back of the pomegranate with the spoon.

All the seeds will fall out before you can say Krampus. Because I like organizing things too much, transfer the pomegranate from the big bowl into a little pinch one.

Oh dear. This isn’t what it looks like. I swear. Find a paper towel and mop up the evidence, or pomegranate juice.

There! Now we have a clean board on which I shall now dice the tomatoes.

And-you guessed it-put them in a pinch bowl.

Now grab the star of the show-fennel! Before we go any further, I need to clarify something. IT’S CALLED FENNEL. NOT ANISE. AND GROCERY STORES NEED TO STOP LABELING IT AS ANISE. Felt good to get that off of my back. Lop off the ends (I cut the top off later, but it’s easier to do it now), cut it in half down the middle, and pull out the innards. Slice aforementioned innards into matchsticks, and put the hollowed out bulbs into a pan. Don’t throw these away, we’ll need em’ later on. It would also be good to keep the fronds (fluffy green stuff)!

! Now assemble the salad- drain the orzo, rinse it with cool water, and dump it into a nice big bowl.

Then throw in the garlic, pomegranate, olives, tomatoes, balsamic, paprika, and pepper.

Grab a big wooden spoon (or something in that neighborhood), and mix it all up. Taste it and add what you think it needs, it was a bit sour for my taste so I threw in some sugar. The olives I put were so salty I didn’t need any additional salt, but by all means, feel free to add some of that!

Now spoon the salad into the hollowed out fennel bulbs, and bake it at 375 F for 20 minutes.

This is one of the bulbs when it came out. Yum.

Now grab a serving platter, and those fennel matchsticks from earlier. Heap them onto the platter,

and then put the bulbs on top. For a nice finishing touch, sprinkle on some fennel fronds. How good does this look? It’ll be a wonderful addition to your holiday table, every meal needs something fresh. I’ve posted 2 very, very healthy recipes in the past week. This is strange. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with some cookies soon!

and then put the bulbs on top. For a nice finishing touch, sprinkle on some fennel fronds. How good does this look? It’ll be a wonderful addition to your holiday table, every meal needs something fresh. I’ve posted 2 very, very healthy recipes in the past week. This is strange. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with some cookies soon!

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