for the love of basil…….


I have a similar aversion to day time television as have the majority of its advocates towards ingredients such as anchovies, oysters and snails. This all encompassing judgement may at first appear inequitable and, in concert with the zeitgeist, it undoubtedly is…, for fuck sake, get over yourselves and just accept it. The previously mentioned ingredients together with fennel are long time inhabitants of that netherworld wherein reside the nemeses of “picky eaters”. Being of a contrary nature I’m forever tempted to include such ingredients when entertaining as I cannot help but imagine the querulous faces which will uncover those of a “picky” nature. However, such pleasures are for the most part denied me, as my wife is among that fastidious and exacting group. On the occasions when we are apart from each other I take the opportunity to enjoy some of those ingredients that would otherwise be unlikely to cross our threshold and now is such an occasion. And there I was watching daytime television. There is an excuse, indeed a watertight defence but I suspect that it will fall on deaf ears so I shall just push on to say that Nigel Slater was knocking up some linguine with fennel, shallots, basil and feta and I immediately pushed the “netherworld” button in my mental elevator which took me down to the Orphic supermarket where fennel and feta abounded…..basil didn’t abound so my version is basil free.

Fennel, shallot and feta linguine
Ingredients ( not amounts)
Fennel bulb
Banana shallots
Olive oil
Feta cheese

Slice the fennel and shallot and, in a thick bottomed frying pan, cook them slowly in olive oil. Remember, you’re not trying to caramelise the fennel, just to soften them. Meanwhile cook the linguine in heavily salted water ….Marcella Hazan has plenty to say on salting the pasta cooking water —“For every pound of pasta, put in no less than 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt, more if the sauce is very mild and undersalted. Add the salt when the water comes to a boil. Wait until the water returns to a full, rolling boil before putting in the pasta.” Now crumble the feta cheese into the pan of fennel and shallot ( and tear up some basil if you have some). When ready, combine the linguine with the contents of the frying pan.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2017, Cheese, Cooking, Digital photography, fennel, feta and basil, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, Italian food, linguine with fennel, linguine with fennel. feta and basil, Mediterranean food, Nigel Slater, Olive oil, pasta, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to for the love of basil…….

  1. Mad Dog says:

    Top recipe and matching pictures!
    On the rare occasions that a top culinary exponent turns up on daytime TV, I recommend recording the programme to watch at night time. That way you don’t have to compromise your beliefs or become addicted to some god awful soap 🙂

  2. Pingback: for the love of basil……. — Food, Photography & France | Foodfhonebook

  3. Perfect…classic, simple and beautiful!

  4. Ardys says:

    Fennel is one of my very favourite vegetables and is much more versatile than most lovers of afternoon tv would guess. Beautiful photos. The look on the face of our soon to be son-in-law when I served him fennel baked in light cream and grilled on top with Parmigiano Reggiano was priceless. He is not averse to trying things and he absolutely loved it and had seconds and asked our daughter to please get the recipe. Bravo! Welcome to the family.

  5. Conor Bofin says:

    I don’t know if I’d like that. I’m a bit of a picky eater, you know….

  6. Eha says:

    Thank you for today’s lunch idea . . .adore fennel – have never used it with pasta! Anchovies, oysters and snails all get a big thumbs-up from me and, nasty that I am , I just love to serve them to ‘picky eaters’ with a perfectly straight face!! Tripe, liver, kidneys and sweetbreads as well!!! But daytime TV: that is wasting one’s precious life unless one is sick in bed . . . well, that is my opinion anyways . . .:) !

  7. Absolutely perfect – apart from linguini I have the rest in my house and your recipe is on the supper list for tomorrow – thank you. Photographs are of course beautiful as always. Btw, I too like to serve “special food” to picky eaters and please to say that nearly!!!! everyone of them changed their mind regarding European food🌍

  8. MELewis says:

    Looks delicious. What kind of pasta do you use? I’ve heard Italians swear only by the dried stuff but in France, the coolers are stocked with fresh linguine and the dried always seems to spaghetti.

    • We’ve had some wonderful Italians on our food photography all of whom swore by dried pasta…and one of them sent us some superb artisan dried pasta from Rome. I managed to get linguine from SuperU who stock Barilla….check them out

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