Orange and fennel is a great flavor combination. The fennel brings the flavor of anise and the orange adds a zesty citrus aspect. This butter is wonderful added to greens (collards, spinach), vegetables (carrots) or fish dishes. I was able to use one of my new kitchen tools for this recipe — herb shears. They feature a five blade construction allowing you to quickly and efficiently chop or mince fresh herbs directly into soups, salads, on roasts, and more. They were perfect for use on the fennel fronds. I am also sharing with you one of my favorite kitchen hacks — using leftover herbs in butter preparations and freezing them. I use an ice cube tray to freeze them and then store them until needed. You can at anytime have a basil, garlic or tarragon butter for veggies, a blue cheese butter to place under a steak, or a fennel-orange butter to perk up some shrimp. A really quick, nice, easy way to bring flavor to dishes. Served here on top of Matchstick carrots with pork tenderloin and Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower.
FENNEL-ORANGE BUTTER (Yields 8 Tablespoons)
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- Sea salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
- ¾ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- To make the butter (up to 3 days ahead): Using a mortar and pestle or the side of a knife, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt until it forms a paste. I cheated here and used 3 cloves of roasted garlic with a little salt added.) Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the butter, fennel, tarragon, orange zest and pepper. Stir to combine.
- To freeze: Drop about 1 to 1-1/2 Tablespoons of the mixture into an ice cube tray. Freeze for 30 minutes to an hour. Pop them out and store in a freezer proof container. Use anytime to add a little extra something to your dish.