Spicy Steamed Fennel

I love cooking with my friend MS, The Cuban Spitfire.  We have spent many a weekend evenings grinding Indian spices and chopping garlic to make steamy, delicious curry while sipping red wine and laughing about everything and nothing.  Although we only lived together for a couple of years, we often speak of the Golden Years at Oddone with much love and nostalgia.  A large part of this, was our wonderful tag-team cooking regime.  No one knows her way around a kitchen with a jar of capers and fresh lemons better than MS.

This January, en route to New York, she stopped in Rome for a much-too-short visit.  She had just spent a brief but glorious vacation in Morocco and returned with a spectacular bag of spices.  She tells me she purchased this mix of 13 different spices from a wonderful woman in Marrakech who advised her to use it with steamed fennel, lemon, and olive oil.

Using, my chestnut-roaster-turned-steamer, I lovingly lay my chopped fennel to steam it for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, I prepare the “dressing”, of olive oil, salt, lemon juice, chopped parsley and a dash of the 13-Mix-Spices.  Combine the steamed fennel with the dressing. It’s all too simple and healthy, I don’t know what else to say about this dish, except that whenever I make it, I picture MS’s curly dark hair, her wild hand movements, and those wonderful years we spent together in the Money Room Kitchen.
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