This Panna Cotta is an Ode to Fennel

When you think of Hawaii you might not think of superb Italian food, but that’s what chef Kevin Lee is creating at Honolulu’s Prima.

When you think of Hawaii you might not think of superb Italian food, but that’s what chef Kevin Lee is creating at Honolulu’s Prima. Aside from the crisp, thin, wood-fired pizzas, the restaurant is famed for its fennel panna cotta. “The whole thing revolves around the single ingredient,” Lee says. “We cook the bulb in cream with a little bit of garlic, and then set the cream with gelatin. Then, we take more of the bulb and puree it with fennel tops to make a green fennel puree that goes under the panna cotta. Then we make a marmalade out of the fennel stem, which we slice and cook down with sugar and vinegar. We put the marmalade on top of the panna cotta, and garnish it with a couple of slices of raw or fresh fennel bulb, and a few sprigs of fennel fronds. I like to take one ingredient and use it in as many ways as I can, being as playful as possible.”

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