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Sirloin and Grilled Fennel

Anise seeds and fennel bulb lend an unusual but welcome flavor to juicy slices of sirloin for an extraordinary entree that you can savor all year round. Anise seeds are often called fennel seeds and fennel bulb is sometimes referred to as anise. Seeds can be found in the spice aisle, bulbs can be located in the produce section. Substitute onions for fennel bulb if necessary.

Serves 4

Ingredients for the steak:
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 1/4 pound boneless sirloin steak (about 1-inch thick)
Pinch of salt or more to taste

Ingredients for the fennel:
1 pound fennel bulbs, stalks removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of a lemon
Pinch of salt or more to taste
Black pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium-high. Place peppercorns and anise seeds in a heavy-duty sealable plastic bag and crush with the bottom of a heavy skillet. Pat steak dry with paper towels and coat both sides with peppercorn mixture, pressing mixture into meat. Season with salt and grill steak on an oiled rack for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare meat. Transfer steak with tongs to a platter and let stand 10 minutes to allow the juices to set in. Alternatively, steaks may be grilled in a hot, ridged grill pan over medium-high heat.

Keep grill at medium-high heat. Cut fennel bulbs lengthwise into wedges. Place fennel in a microwave-safe bowl, loosely cover, and microwave on HIGH, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. If fennel wedges begin to separate, hold them together with wooden toothpicks soaked in water (to keep the wood from flaming). Brush fennel quarters with oil and grill on an oiled rack for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden. Transfer grilled fennel with tongs to a serving dish. Squeeze lemon to taste over fennel and season with salt and pepper. Alternatively, fennel may also be grilled in a hot, ridged grill pan over medium high heat.

To serve, cut steak into thin slices and fan out on a plate. Side steak with fennel wedges.

Nutritional Analysis (per serving): Calories 368 (37% from fat); Protein 45 grams; Carbohydrates 12 grams; Fiber 5 grams; Total Fat 15 grams (Saturated Fat 5 grams; Monounsaturated Fat 7.5 grams; Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5grams); Cholesterol 127 milligrams; Sodium 411 milligrams.

Recipe courtesy of Personal Chef Michele Thompson, MS

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