Question: what do I eat with the pulled venison my sister's father-in-law made the other day?
The only reason I roasted some fennel this evening is because I got some at the Waverly Market on Saturday morning. I thought I'd try to find a recipe to fit it. And boy howdy, did I find one! It's a roasted fennel recipe from Adam Roberts' Amateur Gourmet website posted almost three years ago. It comes ultimately from the Barefoot Contessa di Hamptons, Ina Garten herself. He talked it up so much that I just couldn't help myself - I had to roast this fennel. This simple version I found is a variant thereof: just cut off the base and the stalks, halve lengthwise, cut into 1/2 inch slices, and roast at 400°F covered in olive oil, salt and pepper (and maybe balsamic vinegar). Adam's version also has a sprinkle of parmesan halfway through the roasting process, and roasts it for a total of an hour. The shorter version keeps it in the oven for 20 minutes. I went halfsies and ate at 40 minutes. Wow! It is just, wow!
Along with that I had some cornbread, kind of a hybrid of Southern "savory, yellow cornmeal" style and Northern "sweet, white cornmeal" style. The Maryland kinds are sometimes white and sometimes yellow, a little sweet but not too much, sometimes in a square pan and other times in a cast iron skillet. In this case, it was pretty savory, with yellow cornmeal (Ah, Maryland, always in the middle. Such a silly place). It comes from John Shields' wonderful Chesapeake Bay Cookery book. It's a Baltimore-though-originally-Deep-South recipe for Two O'Clock Cornbread. I can't relay the recipe, as it's not online (but it's on p. 226 of his book). I did alter the recipe a wee bit, replacing the milk (which I actually don't have on hand) with buttermilk (by the way, buttermilk thaws beautifully once you take it out of the freezer). 30 minutes later at 425°F and it was almost perfect.
The one little problem was that burned bottom. Oh well, at least it didn't taste burnt. In fact it was quite good.
The fennel, the cornbread, the venison - all went together beautifully! Add a "Baltimore Style" McHenry Beer from Clipper City - a "1940's style" beer which, I think, uses 100% malted barley (if I read their website right) - and it's even better.