Vegetable dish comes to life with fresh fennel

November 06, 1991|By Nancy Byal | Nancy Byal,Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

For a festive side dish that your microwave oven cooks in a flash, accent a frozen vegetable mix with anise-flavored wedges of fresh fennel and toasted sesame seed. Fresh fennel looks a lot like stalks of celery and is most available in the fall. Look for fennel bulbs with fresh, bright-green tops, then use the feathery sprigs to line your serving platter. If you can't find fennel with tops, pick up some fresh dill or parsley to decorate your platter.

Sesame Vegetables

2 small fennel bulbs (about 6 ounces each), cut into thin wedges

2 tablespoons water

1 16-ounce package loose-pack frozen mixed broccoli, baby carrots and water chestnuts

1/2 cup sliced celery

1 tablespoon sesame seed

1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a two-quart microwave-safe casserole, cook the fennel with water, covered, on 100 percent power (high) for three minutes. Add the frozen vegetables and sliced celery. Cook, covered, on high for eight to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet cook the sesame seed in hot oil for one to two minutes or until light brown. Remove from heat. Carefully add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Drain vegetables. Pour sesame mixture over the vegetables. Gently stir until coated. Serves six.

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