Fennel

It’s merits and uses:
Most folks have an odd aversion to this wonderful vegetable. I’ve discovered that it takes on a completely new personality when cooked at a slow temperature for a long time. Just as you might caramelize onions over a low flame for 20 minutes; the same can be done with fennel. I figured Martha Stewart might be a good one for fennel recipes and I was right – here’s a couple that I found that sound delicious. Eaten raw they are equally delicious with their anise like flavor. Try decorating a green salad with them along with raw slices of Fuyu persimmons, segments of satsuma mandarins with a sprinkling of green onions.

Baked Fennel with Parmesan and Thyme

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Boil 3 fennel bulbs, trimmed and split lengthwise, until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain fennel, cut side down, on paper towels, 5 minutes. Place fennel, cut side up, in a buttered 8-inch square baking dish and brush with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and top with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan and 4 sprigs thyme. Bake until cheese is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Pan Seared Fennel in Citrus White Sauce

  • 2 bulbs fennel, trimmed (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 oranges)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

With a large knife, cut each fennel bulb lengthwise into four slices. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat butter and oil until sizzling. Lay fennel slices in skillet; cook, turning once, until browned, about 5 minutes per side.
Pour orange juice over fennel; season with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until fennel is tender, about 15 minutes. Add wine, and continue cooking until fennel is very tender and sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper, as desired, and serve warm.

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