Winner of Your Best Fennel

April 17, 2013

Congratulations to em-i-lis, whose Caramelized Fennel, Leek, and Orange Salad won the contest for Your Best Fennel


Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
Cooking is a constant element in my early memories. It weaves through them in a lovely, unifying way though some images are more vivid than others. I remember making mud pies with my sister on an old stump in our backyard; learning to can my grandmother's cranberry sauce recipe during Mayhaw season in Louisiana; my first attempts at removing chicken skin and being both repulsed and engrossed; discovering the simple joy of Pillsbury roll dough (in the refrigerated can that popped open at the seams), melted butter, and cinnamon sugar which made for fantastic after-school cinnamon rolls with friends. I guess what pervades all of those reminiscences is a sense of joy in experimentation. Cooking and eating throughout my life have been, by and large, laid-back, nourishing, and communal activities.

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What's your least favorite kitchen task?
Deveining shrimp comes quickly to mind! Also, cleaning Silpats.

Your favorite kitchen tool?
I really, really love my olive wood spoons from Italy. My sister lives in Florence, and each time we visit her, my husband and I add to our collection. I also love my Staub cocottes and usual suspects like my Microplane. I like my huge Silpat a lot too (the one you can knead on) but, as I said, I hate cleaning it.

What is your idea of comfort food?
Good macaroni and cheese is hard to beat, though I rarely have it. Good pizza is pretty awesome. Gumbo never ceases to make me happy. Muffins, pie, tea, roasted veggies.

What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
Recently, I came across Melissa Clark's recipe for Banana Cream Pudding with a Pistachio Crumble. I started to swoon, and immediately bought bananas so that they could begin aging to the perfect degree of brown-spotted ripe. Six egg yolks, cream, milk, bananas, hours of simmering, chilling, waiting. The pudding did not set. 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • foxeslovelemons
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • Marisa R
    Marisa R
  • Kukla
  • EmilyC
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


foxeslovelemons April 22, 2013
Congratulations! And totally agree with cleaning Silpats :)
em-i-lis April 22, 2013
Thank you so much!!!
TheWimpyVegetarian April 21, 2013
Many congrats! I love all your recipes, I'm sure this one is fantastic too :-)
em-i-lis April 21, 2013
What a lovely, sweet note! Thank you so much, TWV!!
Marisa R. April 20, 2013
em-i-lis April 20, 2013
Thank you, Marisa!
Kukla April 19, 2013
Many, many congratulations Emily on another great winning recipe!!!
em-i-lis April 19, 2013
I really appreciate your note, Kukla! Thank you!
EmilyC April 19, 2013
Big congrats Em! I love the looks of this salad!
em-i-lis April 19, 2013
Thanks a million, Emily!!!
gingerroot April 19, 2013
Well deserved congratulations em-i-lis! Can't wait to try your gorgeous salad.
em-i-lis April 19, 2013
Thank you so much, gingerroot!!! I hope you like it!
JanetFL April 18, 2013
Congratulations, Emily! I'm just seeing this new yummy-sounding win as I haven't been online as much as usual. I will give it a try.
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
Thanks a million, Janet!!! I hope you enjoy it!
dymnyno April 18, 2013
Congratulations! I love so many of your recipes and the win is well deserved.
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
wow, dymnyno, thank you! i am really flattered and appreciative!!
Jennifer A. April 18, 2013
I second Dymnyno! So happy for the new recipe collections so that I can keep some of your lovely recipes close at hand :)
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
Jennifer Ann- what a wonderfully kind note. Thank you!! I'm very flattered!
mrslarkin April 18, 2013
Congrats Emily! Love the flavors in your salad.

Can you put silpats in the dishwasher?

Have you ever cleaned a squid? I say anything that involves guts is way up there with your shrimp. :)
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
Thank you so much, Liz! I don't know about Silpats in the dishwasher but if it's possible, it'll be a game-changer! ;) Cleaning squid- blech!
QueenSashy April 17, 2013
Congrats, so well deserved!
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
Thank you so very much, Queen Sashy!!!
boulangere April 17, 2013
My god, you're as beautiful as your salad!
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
Well, my goodness. THANK YOU. Having been up at least three times last night with random child callings-out (I need a new shirt! I want my light-saber!), I feel not the least bit lovely right now. This was a heck of a note to wake up to. XO
amber W. April 17, 2013
Congrats! Love the recipe!!!
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Thank you so much!!
lapadia April 17, 2013
Congratulations!!! An awesome belated BD present from all who voted! :)
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Right you are, L!!! A fantastic gift. Huge thanks to everyone!
krusher April 17, 2013
Congratulations Em. It is a delightful recipe which I enjoyed very much. Flavor great. Perfect for the lunch I made it for. Goes in my folder entitled "Keepers".
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
I am flattered, K! Thank you so much!!
Madhuja April 17, 2013
Congratulations, em-i-lis! That salad looks fabulous! :)
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Many thanks, Madhuja!!! If you try it, I hope you love it!
inpatskitchen April 17, 2013
Warmest congratulations Em! I actually don't mind peeling and me a little "alone" time in the kitchen!
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Thank you so much, ipk. I admit that alone time in the kitch is nice. But I'd rather wash dishes than devein shrimp. ;)
krusher April 17, 2013
I am so with you on de-veining shrimp (called prawns in our world). I love them so much I still endure it just to eat them fresh caught from our Northern Prawn Fishery particularly. I once was many years ago Secretary of the Northern Prawn Fishery Committee, the Australian Ministerial Council on Fisheries (federal & states joint ministerial level) and the Standing Committee on Fisheries (Council of federal and state government heads)... so deep is my love of all seafood. I grieved mightily at the devastation of the marine life off Louisiana during the dreadful oil spill and I continually worry about the depleted state of the oceans' seafood stock.
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
I worry about it too! We are destroying our fish stocks at such a rapid pace. You wonder why no one has more wisdom and/or foresight!
Midge April 17, 2013
Congrats em-i-lis! Luckily, my husband is the official shrimp deveiner in our house ;)
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Thanks, Midge! Lucky you! :)
Bevi April 17, 2013
Congrats Em! I was thinking of deveining shrimp tonight. Maybe not.
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
:) Thanks, Bevi!!!
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Want you all to know that truly, that pudding was a bust. Didn't set even to a stage reminiscent of yogurt. Rather I had six large ramekins of gloriously good, fabulously fatty, pricey banana milk. I drank it indulgently, bowl by bowl, over several days. Pudding would have been nice but this was a good disaster, as far as they go. ;)
pierino April 17, 2013
Congratulations, especially since you love gumbo as much as I do. But the Louisiana food I miss most is boudin.
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
thanks, pierino!