You know you’re a spoiled, urban eater when you’re just sick to death of eating fennel in all the usual ways. Shaved with oranges in a walnut vinaigrette – ho hum. Braised with cumin seed – yawn. So, what’s left when you get to this point? Turns out caramelizing makes fennel all fresh and new again!
Here’s how I made it:
1. Slice the fennel into long, thin strips. Melt enough butter with an equal amount of vegetable oil to just cover the bottom of a skillet. Add the fennel and season with salt and pepper; stir in a minced clove of garlic and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme leaves.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes or until softened. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high.
3. Sprinkle over a little sugar (about 1/2 tsp/2 mL for a large fennel bulb) and cook, stirring, until golden. Splash in a couple of tablespoons of dry sherry and stir to scrape up the brown bits. Add a teaspoon of cider vinegar and taste; adjust the cider vinegar and salt and pepper as needed.
I served my caramelized fennel as part of a vegetarian plate but it would be great with pan-seared Alaskan cod or slathered over a white pizza, too.
What’s your favourite way to eat fennel?