PACIFIC PALATE – Don Genova

Try this cool, refreshing summer sipper

I’ve had a number of people ask me what to do with fennel. They see this gorgeous-looking whitish-green bulb at the market with the tall, wavy fronds attached and they buy it, but then haven’t got a clue of what to do with it. Here are a few ideas:

– My favourite is fennel and orange salad. Slice the fennel bulb as thinly as possible. Layer onto a plate with thin slices of orange from which you have cut the peel and white pith. Top with a handful of oil-cured black olives. Drizzle with olive oil and any juices left over from slicing the peel off the oranges. Garnish with finely chopped fennel fronds.

– Cut each bulb of fennel into quarters, discarding the fronds. Toss the pieces of fennel in olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the seasoned fennel to a piece of tinfoil large enough to enclose the fennel. Wrap the fennel and fold tightly shut. Place on a hot barbecue, or roast in oven, turning from time to time, until the fennel is tender, even to the point of caramelization. Unwrap and serve as a side dish.

– Grate the fennel bulb on the large holes of a box grater. Watch your fingers! Stir in a tablespoon of honey, a tsp. of cumin and the juice of half a lime. Stir together, garnish with fronds and you’ve got a fresh-tasting fennel slaw.

It’s raspberry time! I like to eat raspberries with my cereal or yogurt in the morning or scatter them over vanilla ice cream for dessert. For more info on raspberries (how to pick, store, cook, jam, etc.) visit the British Columbia Raspberries page.

For a refreshing take on the raspberry with a Canadian twist of maple syrup, try this cocktail from B.C.-based bartender Brad Stanton. He came up with this while he was tending bar at the Blue Water Cafe in Vancouver:

Red Violin Martini

Ingredients

2 oz    Vanilla Vodka

½ oz   Maple Syrup

1 oz    Fresh squeezed citrus (lemon, lime) juice

Fresh raspberries (six or more)

Sparkling Wine

Method

Muddle (or mash) the fresh raspberries in a cocktail shaker. Add vodka, maple syrup, citrus juice and ice.  Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a couple of fresh raspberries.

Notes

A cool, refreshing summer sipper – perfect for patio weather and wonderful with fresh seasonal local berries.

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