Saturday, 26 March 2022 18:01

Wild Fennel Mayonnaise with Warm Potato Salad

Wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) grows bountifully in coastal Kent. Golden flowers and lime green hay-like fronds, its’ fragrance is anis. It is delicious in savouries, sweets and drinks. Flavour can be extracted for most of the year; either from the leaves, flowers, stem or seeds.

Ingredients: fresh wild fennel (the juice tender stem, yellow flowers or chopped seeds), eggs, sunflower oil or olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, lemon.

1   Forage: Depending upon the season gather either: young, tender stems (Spring); which you chop up, soft yellow flower blossoms (summer); crumble, or seeds (autumn) which should be chopped with a knife to release flavour. As always with wild plants, be sure of your plant identification. Wild fennel is extremely scented if you crush it. The leaves are soft spikey hay-like fronds. 

2.  Prepare & Cook the Potatoes:  Scrub some local organic potatoes and put them in a thick sauce pan with 3:1 olive oil to water. Cook them gently with a lid on; stirring now and again. Be careful the liquids don’t evaporate. When a knife goes in easily they are ready.

3. Make the mayonnaise: Crack 2 egg yolks into a bowl or electric mixer. Very slowly; drop by drop, add 250 ml of sunflower with a little olive oil. If the oil is added too quickly it will curdle (see *). Add 3 spoons of vinegar or fennel vinegar*, salt, pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice and the chopped fresh fennel - flowers or young leaves. Taste and adjust the flavour to your liking.

4. To Serve: Cover the warm potato with spoons of the fennel mayo and garnish with fennel. The mayonnaise  is delicious with everything:- fish, poached meat or boiled eggs or seaweed rice.

5. To Store: Store the mayonnaise in a clean jar in the fridge. It will remain edible for a few weeks.

*If the mixture does split or ‘curdle”. Crack another egg yolk into a clean bowl. Add the curdled mixture very slowly to the egg (as before) it should gradually become thick and mix together smoothly to make a mayo.