Raw fennel is delicious and may cleanse the palate, but cooked fennel has its charms as well. This preparation is similar to "a la greque."
The fennel may be served hot, but it is really much better at room temperature with some of its cooking liquid spooned over.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 6 firm fennel bulbs (6 to 6 1/2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small celery rib, cut crosswise into thin slices
- 1 thin leek, white and light-green parts cut crosswise into thin rounds
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons sultana raisins or dried currants
- 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
Trim the fennel bulbs, cutting off the stalks and some of the root end and removing the bulb's tough outer layer. Then cut lengthwise into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices.
Choose a skillet or saucepan large enough to hold all the fennel; in it, combine the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, celery, leek, crushed garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Place over medium heat. As soon as the vegetables start to sizzle, which will happen within a minute or so, add the pine nuts. Cook for about 5 minutes or just until the pine nuts start to brown, then add the fennel, stirring the contents of the skillet or saucepan until the fennel is well coated.
Add the wine and increase the heat to medium-high until it just comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fennel is just tender; the cooking time will depend on the thickness of the slices.
Uncover, then add the raisins and stir to mix well. Increase the heat to medium or medium-high to bring the liquid to a boil; cook for about 10 minutes and then add half of the parsley, stirring to mix well. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to a syrup. Discard the bay leaves.
Sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve hot, warm or (preferably) at room temperature.
From "The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook," by Nancy Harmon Jenkins (Bantam, January 2009).
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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