Spring greens everything up in April, bringing welcome fresh growth. Foragers search the woods for wild ramps and mushrooms. And I search stores for one of my favorite vegetables: Snow white, frond-sy fennel. I’ll never forget buying it one April at the outdoor market stalls in Palermo, Italy, where fennel is called, “Finocchio.” I’ve long loved the anise-like taste and crunch of it raw, but when roasted, fennel sheds that licorice flavor to become lusciously sweet and caramelly.
Paired with the sexy silkiness of exotic mushrooms, nutty farro, zesty lemon and fresh snipped parsley, this warm bowl is delicious on its own, or as a side dish. I like to serve it with a drizzle of balsamic syrup and smattering of shaved parmesan. I made this with an assortment of beautiful exotic mushrooms (Lion’s Mane, Oyster and Chestnut) grown at Windy City Mushrooms, and available for pick-up at the Village Farmstand in Evanston, but sub in any tender fresh mushrooms you like.