February 11, 2012

Braised Fennel w Red Onions & Sweet Peppers

Braised Fennel with Red Onions and Sweet Peppers
Vegetable #7 for New Year Resolution #2 - Fennel Bulbs

Prep Time: 30 min

  1. 2 medium sized Fennel bulbs, in eighths. 
  2. 2 small red onions, quartered.  
  3. 6-8 spring/green onions, finely diced.
  4. 1 large Sweet (red) pepper, sliced vertically or diced finely.
  5. 1 tsp minced garlic.
  6. 1 tbsp Olive oil
  7. 1 cup vegetable broth
  8. 1-2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  9. freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  10. sea salt, to taste.
Remove fronds from the fennel, trim root, wash well and cut each bulb into eighths. Save some of the fronds for the garnish and make sure the root is left intact in each eighth. This will keep the leaves from falling apart. Keep the root intact for the red onion too. I used a cast iron skillet for this recipe to get the most out of the braising technique. Heat oil to medium high and when the oil is just beginning to smoke, add the red onion and fennel. Allow a few minutes for the quarters to sear on their first side. Then turn over each piece over to allow the other side to sear as well. Once the onion and fennel are looking nicely browned, add the diced spring onions and red pepper. These need a much shorter time to get the same browning as the tougher fennel. After a couple of minutes mix in  garlic and vegetable broth. Given the heat in the skillet, it should begin to boil almost immediately. Reduce heat, add freshly ground black pepper and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes until a knife glides through the fennel. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with sea salt and garnish with a couple saved fronds of fennel. 

Nik's Reaction: None! He wasn't in the mood to eat anything but his crescent roll for dinner.

My Assessment: Although I enjoyed the flavors, I wasn't super impressed by fennel. At least in this concoction, it tasted a lot like onion to me. Maybe a tad sweeter. Also, I didn't have any fennel seeds at home today, so maybe the flavors were milder than they should have been. I think fennel would be great in recipes which use celery. I'm going to have to try that. 

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