01 09 10

search you little tarte

Monday, February 6, 2012

Braise Me, Baby

The other night Ted and I went to a dinner at a new restaurant here in the 'burgh.  I'm usually pretty critical of restaurants around here, by E Squared (I'm not sure how to make the little exponent squared on my computer) was good.  Not knock your socks off fabulous, but better than average.

For an appetizer I had a salad with fennel, blood oranges, olives, and I think it was Parmesan cheese.  It was a nice combination of flavors, which was a good thing because it was enough salad to feed a small army.  Now while I realize that the combination of fennel and oranges wasn't unique. it really was tasty and it got me thinking about my new favorite veggie, fennel.

Before braising...
A month or two ago, I recalled seeing a recipe for olive oil braised fennel in Fine Cooking Magazine and I thought why not?  So I made it today.

Ready to serve.
Instead of oranges, this recipe calls for lemon, which offers a nice sparkle of flavor in the winter.  Just a small amount of olive oil is drizzled over the sliced fennel and then then whole thing is foiled up and cooked in the oven at 375 for about an hour.  Another 20 minutes without the foil and it browns nicely.  I shaved a little Parmesan over the finished dish and sprinkled a little more salt and freshly ground black pepper.  The end result was soft and slightly lemony fennel.  Yummy.

Not only was this fennel a nice side dish, the writers at Fine Cooking recommend tossing it with penne and serving it as a main course.  Doesn't that sound good?  Maybe next time.

Recipe:  Olive Oil Braised Fennel with Lemon
(Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, February, 2012)


3-1/2 lb. fennel (about 2 large bulbs), tops removed, halved and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
3-1/4-inch-thick lemon slices, cut into quarters
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt  and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Arrange the fennel wedges in an overlapping single layer in a 10x15-inch baking dish. Nestle the lemon pieces peel side up among the fennel. Drizzle with the olive oil and 1 Tbs. water, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Braise the fennel in the oven until completely tender when pierced with a fork, 1 to 1-1/4 hours. Uncover the dish and continue to braise until the fennel is browned at the edges and there is no liquid left in the pan, about 20 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature sprinkled with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and shaved Parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried Ina Garten's deadly fennel-potato gratin? Deadly delicious and deadly calorically. Fennel is special.