I like to play with cross-cultural cooking ideas. Ramen is all the rage these days ,so i was toying with doing a ramen dish for this contest. Ramen is a noodle soup with a rich fatty broth and some protein (often also rich) and vegetables. Since fennel is the subject, I thought about how salmon is a rich protein that pairs naturally with fennel.
And where there is salmon, there must be lemon...... So that's how I came to the rich egg- thickened lemon soup 'broth' of Avgolemeno!. And of course I had to name it for my beautiful Greek friend, Thalia (which means 'white' in Greek.) —itsallaboutsharing
Reduce chicken stock with the fennel seed by 1/2 til you have a rich tasting stock. About halfway through reducing, taste the stock. If there is not a subtle fennel flavor, add more seeds. When you have a rich stock, strain out and discard the fennel seeds. Set aside broth over low heat.(A flame tamer is perfect for this.)
Cook noodles in boiling salted water til al dente. Drain in a colander under cold water, set aside.Pour out half the pasta water and keep the remainder on medium heat with a lid (you will use it to reheat the pasta before serving.).
Dice fennel and saute in hot olive oil til tender, 5-8 minutes., over medium high heat
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice. Briskly whisk in 1 cup of hot chicken stock and then whisk this back into the pot, whisking continually and stirring the pot bottom with a flat edged wooden paddle or a heat -proof spatula to keep the avgolemono from overcooking and curdling in the bottom corners of the pot. Stir often with whisk for about 10 minutes til mixture thickens slightly and will coat the back of the spatula. Do not allow it to get bubbles around the edge or the soup will curdle. Season with tamari, pepper and salt.
When the soup has thickened slightly, return the pasta to the hot water for
a few minutes before draining. Set the salmon, oiled, on a pan very close to the broiler flame. Broil it for just a few minutes, until browned and rare to medium rare inside.
Add the hot drained pasta and the sauteed fennel to the thickened soup and stir well til hot. Taste and add lemon juice, tamari or S&P as needed. Portion into bowls, topping each with one piece of salmon. Garnish with a fennel frond,
pepper,optional kizumi nori; serve.