FOOD: What’s on Tap? Fennel
In any business there are the folks you know you can count on. In the local restaurant community, it is commonly agreed that Steve Mannino is one of the folks you can count on. Recently, a local culinary program cancelled for the Farmers Market Chef demonstration, and even though Steve had just taken over the culinary helm at American Tap Room, when called he stepped up.
Mishap after mishap plagued the launching of the demonstration on a gorgeous summer morning, but Steve and his team are well versed in turning things around. Steve was recruited to the American Tap Room collection of restaurants to build a team and take the restaurants to the next level. After watching Steve acknowledge, and embrace each challenge of the morning which looked more like a reality show gone badly or Candid Camera and turn the entire event around on a dime, you know he will do a spectacular job with American Tap Room.
Though the plan was to prepare two recipes- fried green tomatoes and watermelon, fennel and feta salad- another glitch prevented the fried green tomatoes demonstration, which was fine as there was plenty of salad for everyone. In fact the salad was quite a hit with the crowd. Many were surprised at the crisp, freshness of the texture and taste of the salad and looked forward to using it all summer. Quite a few customers were seen later in the morning over at Homestead Farms picking up fennel to give the recipe a try.
Fennel is one of those vegetables that has fallen out of our regular diet but is making a comeback in the gourmet circles. It has a light licorice smell and taste, and compliments many types of cooking including Mediterranean cuisine. Fennel is actually praised for its high Vitamin C content and having many anti-inflammatory and immune support system benefits. Fennel will be available for a few more weeks in the Falls Church Farmers Market and you can try many recipes with it including the Watermelon, Fennel and Feta salad presented by Steve Mannino of American Tap Room.
By Kathleen Nixon
June 22, 2012