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The Many Faces of Fennel

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The latest soup at Dirt Candy is Fennel and Sunflower Seed Soup with Pickled Mustard Seeds, Mustard Green Pesto, and Fennel Pretzels. A lot of people don’t like fennel, but come on. Give it a chance!

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Because this started out as a sausage.

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For some reason this dish took forever to get right. It all began with my desire to make fennel sausages. I wanted that fennel-sausagey taste in a soup but it took me a while to realize that what I really wanted was fennel soup. Now that I had my head on straight, I needed to figure out how to do this. The first step was the soup itself. I wanted to make a creamy but light soup, but I didn’t want to do a heavy nut milk. So I wound up soaking sunflower seeds and pureeing them which gave me a really light, fresh, creamy soup that balanced the fennel taste really nicely. And the strong taste of fennel needs balancing – a little of it can go a long way.

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This is a vegan soup, despite the fact that it’s ultra-creamy. The cool thing about it is that after blending the soup it comes out a pinky-brown color and then it gets darker while it’s heating. But, suddenly, just as it’s about to boil it turns bright white, which is how we know it’s done.

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After getting the soup together, the dish all fell into place. It needed sweetness, so we caramelized fennel and rolled it into tiny balls.

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Then, because it was a fennel taste that, in my mind, was associate with sausage, I wanted mustard and pretzels. I pickled mustard seeds to get an acidic crunch:

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And made fennel pretzels because there should be more pretzels in the world.

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I made a pesto from the mustard greens to give it a bright green finish.

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And there you have it. One of the less complicated dishes I’ve ever made. It started as a sausage, ended up as a soup.

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menu


Menu

Snack

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Jalapeno Hush Puppies $6
served with maple butter
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Appetizers

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Mushroom $13
portobello mousse, truffled toast
pear & fennel compote

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Cucumber $12
roasted cucumber hot and sour soup,
black sesame, garlic chili oil, wood ear
mushroom, cucumber jelly

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Spinach $13
spinach & grapefruit mille-feuille,
with smoked pistachios and ricotta

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Potato $12
warm potato salad, crispy Japanese
yams, grilled sweet potato, olives,
bitter greens, apples

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Entrees

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Beets $20
salt-roasted beets, thai green curry,
beet gnocchi, whipped coconut galangal cream

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Pepper $18
fennel & pepper tofu,
parsley spaetzle, grilled
yellow pepper broth,
mustard crumbs

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Broccoli $21
smoked broccoli dogs,
broccoli kraut, salt &
vinegar broccoli rabe

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Corn $19
stone ground grits, corn cream,
pickled shiitakes, huitlacoche,
tempura poached egg

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- everything on the menu can be made vegan on request.

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Dessert

Rosemary Eggplant Tiramisu $12
grilled eggplant, rosemary cotton
candy, mascarpone

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Ice Cream Nanaimo Bar$11
sweet pea, mint, chocolate

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Popcorn Pudding$11
salted caramel corn

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Celery Cheesecake Roll $10
celeriac ice cream, peanut filling,

& candied grapes

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- vegan dessert selection changes regularly, please ask your server.

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Our wine list (and other beverages)

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Gift Certificates

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