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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pork and fennel are BFF

So, I had a nice big hairy fennel bulb sitting in the fridge, waiting to meet that special someone. This particular fennel bulb was pretty special, having been brought all the way to me from my friend's garden far, far away, so I wouldn't be happy with it settling for just anyone. Luckily I had some nice pork loin steaks sitting in the freezer just waiting to come out and play. I'm not a huge fan of aniseed, thus I didn't want the fennel to take over the relationship so I decided to throw a few other ingredients into the mix to keep the fennel on its toes. It's hairy toes.

The result was a beautiful open romance of a really delicious dinner that I shall be making again for sure!

Warm Pork and Fennel Pasta Salad

Serves 2-3

2 pork loin steaks
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1/4 small red cabbage, sliced thinly
Good handful of baby spinach leaves (sliced in half if big ones)
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 red capsicum
1 orange
Handful of shelled broad beans
Few capers
Good handful of bowtie pasta
30 mL orange juice
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 Tb wholegrain mustard
salt and pepper

1. Roast the red capsicum, remove the skin, slice into strips and set aside.
2. Segment the orange, set aside.
3. Cook the pasta until al dente, refresh under cold water and set aside.
4. Fry the pork steaks until done to your liking, then allow to rest before slicing into strips.
5. Make the dressing by combining the orange juice, olive oil, mustard and some salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
6. Add some olive oil to a hot frying pan, and sauté the red onion until soft. Add the fennel and broad beans. Once all softened, add the red cabbage. Saute all until done to your liking. I like to have my cabbage softened a little, and some colour to everything else. If you want, add the pasta and pork back into the pan to warm them back up a little.
7. In a large bowl, combine the pork, fennel, onion, cabbage, spinach leaves, capsicum slices, orange segments, pasta and capers. Toss gently.
8. Add your dressing to the bowl, or serve the salad and then drizzle the dressing over the top. Garnish with a few little fennel hairs.


penny aka jeroxie October 22, 2009 at 6:49 AM  

Looks so healthy. This is something that I will make mid week. And good on you for shelling your own broad beans. Mine are usually frozen.... shameeeee

Chef Fresco October 22, 2009 at 9:14 AM  

What a yummy creation!

Panamahat October 22, 2009 at 9:59 AM  

Love that idea!

Betty October 22, 2009 at 1:21 PM  

Hehe I'm glad the fennel met it's match! The meal looks lovely and colourful!

the traditional gourmand October 22, 2009 at 2:43 PM  

I recently started eating pork for the first time in my life and this seems like a great recipe for my first time cooking it! Thanks!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella October 22, 2009 at 6:45 PM  

They do go so well together don't they! Love the look of this pasta dish, it makes a really nice change for a pasta salad! :)

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 22, 2009 at 7:56 PM  

What a wonderful autumn dish (for us!). I know that fennel and red cabbage will soon be making an appearance in my organic boxes so will bookmark this for future use!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 22, 2009 at 10:38 PM  

penny aka jeroxie - yes it is quite a healthy meal but still tasty :) and don't feel too bad.. the only reason I was shelling them myself was because a friend gave them to me from her garden. I think I'm a convert now.

Chef Fresco - thank you!

Panamahat - thanks! Inspired by the hairy fennel!

Betty - :D a match made in heaven. In my tummy. Thanks!

the traditional gourmand - thank you, you're welcome, and I hope you enjoy it! I didn't eat red meat for a few years but I'm well and truly back on the pork wagon. Errr... you know what I mean :D

Lorraine - Thanks a lot! They go together like a horse and carriage. (All together now...."love and marriage, love and marriage....")

Mardi - thanks!! Ooh I like seeing what you get in those boxes. I think raddichio would also do well instead of red cabbage if you like things a little bitter.

Anonymous October 23, 2009 at 8:26 AM  

Yum! Pork and fennel sounds like a great combination and so nice with pasta!

Iron Chef Shellie October 23, 2009 at 5:44 PM  

Looks good!
I confess; I've never tried fennel!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 25, 2009 at 11:30 PM  

5 Star Foodie - thanks, it was certainly tasty and refreshing :)

Iron Chef Shellie - thanks!! I'll match your confession with another one - I'd never cooked with it before this dish! Glad to have it in my repertoire now though.

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