I've tried to be more free in the kitchen lately. I'll start cooking with no particular dish in mind, and I just decide to see what happens as I go.
That is how this wonderful and unusual dish came about. I spotted the fennel in the fridge, took it out, and began slicing it. The fennel slices made their way into the pan just as I took notice of a cara cara orange with its neon flesh. I love the flavor of fennel and orange, so I went with it.
It's a liberating and creative way to approach a meal. No planning, no shopping. I call it stream-of-conciousness cooking: take the ingredients around you and forge them into a dish. Sometimes it doesn't work out perfectly, but this time it did. I think I'll definitely make this dish again.
Goat Milk + Honey Pasta with Caramelized Fennel & Orange Zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bulb fennel (thinly sliced into half-moons)
zest from 1 orange
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup goat milk
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic (microplaned)
2 sprigs thyme
1 egg (beaten)
salt & pepper
2 servings pasta
fennel fronds for garnish
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium frying pan. Add the fennel and allow it to cook undisturbed until the bottom layer begins to brown (about 6-10 minutes). Stir and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Raise the heat and add most of the zest (reserve 1/4 of it for garnish, though!) and wine. Reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated and the fennel is soft.
Turn the heat to low and add the milk, honey, garlic, thyme. Temper the egg and add it to the mixture. Toss cooked pasta in the sauce. Divide between two plates and garnish with orange zest and fennel fronds.