Fennel is one of the few vegetables that I have no real clear idea on how I would cook it, or use it in a recipe. Most vegetables that we grow in the garden I already have a clear idea of how I would like to use them. By the time they are ready to harvest I am keenly anticipating the meals I will use the vegetable in. My lack of direction/ideas with fennel had to be quickly rectified when the crop in my garden neared harvest time!
I asked on my Facebook page for some hints and ended up using a mix of some of the comments to create this dish.
In my opinion a good side dish can make or break a meal. A good side dish can morph into a main or make an otherwise boring meal interesting and fabulous.
The flavor of this dish surprised me as it was divinely subtle. I have previously only eaten fennel raw. In it’s raw state I found the aniseed flavor to be quite strong, which is probably why people use it shaved or very thinly sliced.
Via this recipe I found that when fennel is baked it adopts a much more subtle flavor. This side dish is richly flavored. It makes a simple piece of grilled chicken or fish very special.
More fennel will be going into our garden as soon as possible now that I have this recipe up my sleeve.
- 3 cloves garlic - chopped finely
- 4 small anchovy fillets - chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch dried chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 medium fennel (plus leaves chopped) - cut in half and then into quarters to make 8 pieces
- ⅓ cup white wine
- 12 olives - no pits
- 120 ml passata
- Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and add the garlic, anchovy and chilli flakes (if using)
- Reduce the heat slightly and then stir until the anchovy dissolves and is highly fragrant
- Add the fennel pieces and turn to coat in the garlic and anchovy in the pan
- Heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius
- Add the wine and reduce it by half
- Add the olives and passata and some of the chopped fennel leaves (about 1 tablespoon)
- Remove the skillet from the stove top and add it to the oven to bake for 30 minutes
- Serve with fresh parsley
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