4live marron1fennel bulb, shaved1lemon, juice only2 tbspolive oilGreen olive and vanilla velouté8(55gm) green Cerignola olives, pitted (see note)50 gmfennel bulb, finely chopped40 gmbutter, coarsely chopped1tarragon sprig½golden shallot, thinly sliced½garlic clove, finely chopped½vanilla bean125 mldry vermouth250 ml(1 cup) chicken stock125 mlheavy cream (45% milk fat)2 tsplemon juice, or to taste
For green olive and vanilla velouté, thinly slice one-third of the olives and set aside. Finely chop remaining olives and combine with fennel, butter, tarragon, shallot, garlic and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat, season to taste, cover with a lid and cook until vegetables are tender (10-15 minutes). Add vermouth and cook over low-medium heat until reduced by two-thirds (20-30 minutes), add stock and simmer until reduced by one-third (20 minutes), then add cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, season to taste with lemon juice, add remaining olives and keep warm. Makes 375ml.
Place marron in the freezer until they are rendered insensible (15-20 minutes), then insert a knife into the base of their heads to kill them humanely. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add marron, bring back to a gentle boil and cook until almost cooked through and bright red (3-5 minutes). Drain and refresh.
Meanwhile, preheat a grill to high. Combine fennel, lemon juice and oil in a bowl, season to taste and set aside. Halve marron lengthways through shell, place cut-side up on an oven tray, grill until just cooked though (1-2 minutes). Serve immediately scattered with fennel mixture and drizzled with green olive and vanilla velouté.
Note Cerignola olives are available from select delicatessens.
You can substitute other large green olives.
This recipe is from the July 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet