My grandmother and mom always served fennel after dinner along with fresh fruit.
Not everyone liked it but for some reason it was always a favorite of mine.
Recently the fennel has been on sale and I decided to buy it and try something new. Change can be a good thing although it’s not always welcome but I keep on trying.
I make fennel salads in summer which my sister-in-law and I enjoy. This is my first foray into cooking fennel. I thought braising fennel with balsamic vinegar would give it enough flavor to sit among our favorite roasted veggies without anyone noticing.
The balsamic vinegar added a little sweetness to the fennel while taming it’s licorice flavor.
The prep for the fennel is simple, cut up a large bulb of fennel into wedges, removing some of the core – do not remove the entire core or it will fall apart – pull off the tough outer leaf if necessary. Gently rinse the wedges and pat dry with paper towel.
Balsamic Braised Fennel
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 TBLS. Balsamic vinegar
- Salt & Pepper
- Heat 1 cup of Balsamic vinegar in a small saucepot and cook on low heat until reduced by half.
- Cut off the stalk from the fennel bulb. Using a very sharp knife cut the bulb in half and then into wedges.
- Remove some of the core from the wedges, trying not to remove it all or the wedge will fall apart. (The core will tenderize when cooked).
- In a medium size bowl mix together the smashed garlic, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix well with a fork. Add in the fennel wedges and coat them well with the mixture.
- Heat a medium size heavy saute pan and place the marinated wedges in the hot pan.
- Cook the wedges on all sides until they have carmelized with a nice color.
- Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low and cook a little longer until the wedges are tender. This could take anywhere from under 10 minutes to maybe 20 minutes - depends on the size of the fennel wedges and the heat of the pan.
- Remove from the pan and serve as a side to chicken or fish. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds.
- Drizzle with Balsamic Glaze.
I was pleasantly surprised when everyone ate the vegetables including the fennel. There were a few furrowed brows but no complaints — I’m getting hopeful my cooking adventures are worth it.