Chargrilled Pickled Fennel


I’m slow-cooking some short ribs of beef. Never done it before, but assuming it’s similar in toughness to brisket I’m going to use the same method which produced something close to the outstanding sandwich I enjoyed last summer at Camp Bestival and produced by Smokestak. I must urge you to look out for them. Not only do they produce incredible American-style slow-cooked meats but they have the most absurdly impressive off-set barbecue you’ll ever see. It looks like something out of The Railway Children.

They served it with pickled chillis, so I made some of those this morning and as I had a quantity of the pickling liquor and marinade left I decided to pickle some fennel too. And I grilled it first to give it another flavour dimension.

Here’s how I did it…

Pickle Grilled Fennel (for one jam jar)
1 large fennel bulb (¼ inch slices and herby tops reserved)
1 clove garlic (finely sliced)
1 red chilli (sliced)
sprigs of thyme and rosemary
100ml white wine vinegar
100ml water
150ml olive oil
salt and pepper
You’ll also need a sterilised jar with a good lid

First grill your fennel until it’s lightly blackened, either under a hot grill, or a griddle on the hob or even on a barbecue. It doesn’t want to be too over-done. Just cooked a bit to get a nice smoky flavour into the mix.

While that’s charing nicely make the poaching liquid by pouring the vinegar and water into a saucepan with a big pinch of salt and bring it to the boil.

In another bowl combine the oil with the herbs and some black pepper.

Now drop your chillis, garlic and grilled fennel into the vinegar and water mixture and simmer for about three minutes, pushing it down so that it stays submerged as much as possible before removing it with a slotted spoon and dropping it straight into the oil and herb mixture.

Give it a good stir before transferring it all to the jam jar. If it doesn’t reach the top add a bit more oil and a few spoonfuls of the poaching vinegar. Then get the lid on.

Leave it until it’s cooled and stick it in the fridge and use within the next few weeks or so.

If you want it to last for ever submerge the whole jar in a pan of cold water, bring it up to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. That’ll kill anything nasty after which you can transfer it to your post-nuclear apocalypse bunker to enjoy during the End Of Days.

To do the chillis it’s exactly the same, but you just use masses of chillis, a bit more garlic and nothing is grilled beforehand.



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