Monday, February 01, 2010

Fennel Cream Layered Rice "Lasagna" (non-baked)


Soften the vietnamese rice paper with water first, then layer with fennel (bulb) cream and surround with saute asparagus, garnish with fennel leaves and red peppercorns

There are many Mainland Chinese immigrants living in Barcelona. For those who own a business would normally be running a store selling cheap household stuffs, or of course, Chinese restaurants that offer all-you-can-eat buffet for less than 9 dollars. Recently I've seen quite a few upscale European-style cafes owned by Chinese also.

Last week I had lunch at one of their beautiful cafes. The prices were surprisingly cheap though. I don't like to see that... I doubted how serious they were in getting the right/ good ingredients. For safe I ordered a vegetarian lasagna because I was thinking, even a raw celery stick could be that tasty, how could they possibly mess up the flavor?! Well you bet, my dish wasn't good. The filling tasted like pickles, it fitted better between two hamburger buns, but definitely not my lasagna!

I can't get any satisfaction from that lunch, so now make another one to compensate. Instead of the traditional lasagna sheet paste, I use Vietnamese rice paper because it doesn't require any cooking so that I don't need to slave myself in the kitchen. You don't need to make the dish so elaborated like mine, you can always just fill the rice paper with the fennel cream and any seasonal vegetable, simply roll it up and your lunch is all set!


Recipe of Fennel Cream (for 1 person)

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, chop
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk of leek, use the white part only
  • 1 Tsp of butter
  • 1/2 glass of white wine
  • some cream/ whole milk
  • a pinch of chicken powder
  • a big slice of orange peel, avoid the white part
  • salt and pepper

Saute the leek with the butter for 2 minutes, add garlic and fennel bulb and sautee for a few minutes more. Pour the wine in and continue to cook until the fennel looks slightly soften. Add in a small pinch of chicken powder, the orange peel and very little cream if the veg looks dry, cook until the fennel all soft. Salt and pepper to taste.

Discard the orange peel. Puree the fennel.



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful recipe! i love the presentation!



FH said...

New recipe and a great Lasagna dish, not baked!! Pics are so wonderful! :)

ChichaJo said...

how interesting! love the way you've used the rice paper instead of lasagna sheets!

Ginny said...

wonderful! gorgeous photos as always! I love fennel! :)

radha said...

kudos to artistical outlook! yes ricepaper is the quickest,i also have lots of sheets in store and like to prepare themin all different ways basing on whats left in the fridge ~

Food For Tots said...

Oh my! Your food styling rocks! Don't think I can create anything close to that. Bravo!!

pigpigscorner said...

It's beautiful!

Karine said...

I heart fennel and this sounds amazing! thanks for sharing :)

Cynthia said...

I hope that in this lifetime I get a chance to dine at your table. I just want to see how you will present the food :) Stunning presentation as always.

Callipygia said...

what a clever use of rice paper, likewise I will expand my use of it! This is so pretty!

Peabody said...

That is so incredibly beautiful!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

This is another work of art, Gattina. I never would have thought to use rice paper for lasagna, but why not? It's stunning.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Another absolutely gorgeous presentation! Honestly, I don't know how you think of these, but every dish here is an adventure.

Marija said...

Wonderful presentation!