Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Slow Cooked Fennel - a very sexy side dish

Divine and effortless
There's nothing more refreshing and satisfying than the crunch of raw fennel, either in bold chunks or delicately shaved wisps, the clean aniseed flavour never fails to lift my spirits or provide a bit of pep to a dish, but this, oh this is something else! I had one of those 'Why has it taken me so long to try this?' moments last night as the pan of shiny, caramelised slices of fennel bubbled away in front of me. Excuse the melodrama but it was really good, the once crunchy punchy fennel had massively mellowed in flavour but still held it's shape with a much softer texture. I ate this with some hake marinated in bay and garlic, but I can't wait to eat this with a roast chook. It would also be amazing with lamb chop, oh and pork chops come to think of that, so basically anything. You could throw the fennel in to roast with the chicken instead of in a frying pan, but the pan does keep the moisture in and stops it browning too much.

Allow one fennel bulb per person. Cut each bulb length ways into 5 or 6 pieces so you have quite chunky cross sections, saving any green fronds. Take a frying pan that will fit the fennel in one layer and heat some olive oil until practically smoking. Lay the fennel in the pan and give it a good blast for about 5 minutes on each side until lightly golden.  Now turn the heat down to minimum and give it another 10 minutes on each side, gently caramelising further, but don't let it burn, we want brown not black. For each 2 bulbs, add one thinly sliced clove of garlic to the pan and let it cook for 1 minute. Add enough water to come half way up the fennel slices (not too much) and let it bubble away until the water has evaporated. Season and throw over the chopped fronds before serving. Now enjoy fennel's softer side.


  1. I like fennel sliced raw thinly but I really really love it when fennel gets slowly braised. You are excused for your melodrama, I was pretty much the same when I first tried it cooked this way. I think they have a similar dish at 10 greek street, also served with hake, yummy!

  2. Thanks Shu Han, it's just nice to use these veggies in as many ways as possible, you do a very good job of that, I know!

  3. It's true, this is very sexy...especially when you caramelized them =)