Sunday, December 22, 2019

Braised Fennel with Capers and Olives

By: The Food Hunter

This delicious vegetarian dish has been adapted from Chef Yotam Ottolenghi, the popular Israeli-English chef based in London. It makes a fantastic side dish and a tasty light lunch. If you eat dairy it goes well over top of ricotta cheese. 

Braised Fennel with Capers and Olives
  • 4 medium fennel bulbs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 15 large whole garlic cloves, skin on
  • 4 tbsp verjuice (or 4 tbsp lemon juice mixed with 2 tbsp red-wine vinegar)
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 1cm dice
  • 250ml fresh stock
  • 20g capers, drained
  • 25g black wrinkly olives, pitted and chopped in half
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  1. Prepare the fennel by trimming off and discarding the tops (reserve any leafy fronds for garnish) and cut each bulb in half from top to bottom; you want thick pieces.
  2.  In a large frying heat two and a half tablespoons of oil on a medium to high heat. Add half the fennel with some salt and black pepper. Cook for five or six minutes, turning once, so it's nicely brown on both sides, remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining fennel.   
  3. Remove fennel from pan and pour in the remaining oil, add the garlic and fry for three minutes, tossing occasionally, so the skin gets scorched all over. Lower the heat to medium, carefully add the verjuice (see above) and reduce for a couple of minutes until there are about two tablespoons of liquid left in the pan. Add the tomato, the capers, olives, thyme, salt and some black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cook for two minutes, then return the fennel to the pan. Add the stock, cover and let simmer for 12-14 minutes, turning once during the cooking, until the fennel is soft and the sauce has thickened. (You may need to remove the lid and increase the heat for the last two or three minutes.)
  4.  Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature.

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