Had lunch today at Ferdinando's on Union St. between Hicks - Columbia. I had a rice ball with ricotta and tomato sauce, which was delicious. But the real miracle for me was the pasta con le sarde. I had been waiting to try this, and much to my chagrin, the dish was described as containing "wild fennel." Well, I died a thousand deaths. I am ashamed to admit it, but I just don't like fennel. Or anis. Or ouzo or sambuca or arak or black licorice, etc. I have tried countless times, and I just can't get there. A source of great embarassed for a self-proclaimed foodie like myself. Imagine my horror when this dish, about which I've hearded countless glowing reports, turned out to contain my one and only culinary enemy.
Well, I looked at my friend, and I said "ok, it's time to try again." And so, bravely, I ordered it. And I loved it. The fennel was subtle, and somehow was the perfect complement to the sardine taste. And the texture of the whole thing...the pasta was decidedly not al dente, with a good amount of oil...almost creamy.
I asked the funny waitress, who is quite a character, what is the difference between wild fennel and regular fennel Her response: "don't believe everything you read, honey." Ha!
I'm going back there and I'm going to work my way through the whole menu.