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tofu scramble with wild fennel

July 15, 2013

Serves 2
Prep time: 20 minutes plus 10-15 minutes cooling time for the tofu and fennel

Wild fennel scramble main pic
We were at the beach in Porthcawl yesterday when I noticed these tall, spiky plants growing at the edges of the sand.  They had curiously edible-looking fronds.  You should have seen how smug I was when I crushed some in my fingers and realised it smelt like liquorice.

‘It’s some kind of sea dill!’ I proclaimed.

It wasn’t some kind of sea dill.  As it happens, it was wild fennel.  This would be beyond obvious to proper foragers but to me, a complete novice, it was a revelation.

Originally I wanted to do Italian-style wild fennel cakes but working out how to replace that amount of cheese was a bit of a challenge without resorting to soy substitutes.  Eventually I decided on a classic tofu scramble that borrowed flavour inspiration from the fennel cakes by upping the nutritional yeast content.

It was so yum!  And very easy to make.  The fennel tasted stronger than the shop-bought variety, and this was a good thing.

The choice of silken tofu is a personal one.  Feel free to make this with regular if you prefer a more solid texture.

A bunch of wild fennel, about 6-7 fronds
Silken tofu, one 340g packet
Olive oil, 1 tbsp
Garlic, one clove, finely chopped
Two spring onions, finely chopped
Turmeric, 1/2 tsp
Herbes de Provence, 1/2 tsp
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Nutritional yeast, 2 heaped tbsps
Salt and pepper

Place the block of tofu and the fennel fronds in a pan of water.  Bring to the boil and let simmer for ten minutes.  Drain well and allow to cool.

Tofu and fennel in a pan of water

Slice the tofu into 1cm cubes.  Finely chop the fennel.  Heat the oil in a frying pan and add both.  Fry for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the turmeric, dried herbs, garlic and spring onions.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Fry for a further four or five minutes, stirring gently, until the tofu has broken down to the texture you prefer – less stirring for big chunks, more for fine crumbs.

Take the pan off the heat, squeeze over the lemon juice and stir in the nutritional yeast.

Serve with chunky toast.

Wild fennel scramble overhead pic

  1. I happen to LOVE fennel (I even have fennel toothpaste from trader joes!) but know so many people who are super fennel averse. Is everyone in your fam a fennel fan? (forgive the excessive alliteration, it just happened and I let it 😉 )

    • Haha, love the fab fennel fun! 😉 Well they don’t mind the odd fennel seed in a stew but this was a bit full-on for them, to be honest. The baby didn’t mind it but she will eat more or less anything. I can’t wait until she is four and turning up her nose at food for being the wrong shape… 😀

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