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Cream-Braised Fennel

From Tally: This is from the food blog Orangette, although she uses cabbage. Let me just say, “Wow!” with the fennel!

[Note: this is a test entry — all the details are here, but the ingredients aren’t listed quite in order.]

Source: <a href="">Orangette</a> (Entered by Peg Duthie)
Serves: 4

4 fennel bulbs, trimmed (about 1 1/2 lbs.)      View Available Products
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 pinches sea salt
2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Step by Step Instructions
  1. If your fennel isn't trimmed, cut off the stalks and fronds right where they grow out of the bulb. (Tip: save some of the lacy fronds for garnish or toss in a salad.) Remove any bruised or extremely tough outer leaves and trim the bottom.
  2. Cut the fennel into vertical quarters, making sure there is a bit of the core in each piece to keep them intact.
  3. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet that has a well-fitting lid.
  4. Add the fennel, arranging them so that they are all in a single layer and one of their cut sides is down.
  5. Cook gently over medium heat until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Do not stir the fennel: you want to get a nice brown color going on the cut side.
  6. Gently turn the fennel using a pair of tongs, and brown the other side.
  7. Sprinkle on some salt, and have a lid handy.
  8. Add about 1/4 cup of water and quickly cover the pan.
  9. Turn down the heat and braise the fennel until it is very soft and most of the water has evaporated (about 20 minutes). Check on occasion and add a little more water if the fennel isn't completely soft.
  10. Remove the lid and pour in the cream. Simmer gently until the cream starts to thicken and glazes the fennel (about 5 minutes).
  11. Add the lemon juice, shaking the pan.
  12. Taste for salt or more lemon.
  13. Serve hot as a side dish or a first course.


Comments added by fellow market members.


I made a variation of this today with the following substitutions: instead of four bulbs of fennel, two bulbs of fennel, a third of a medium eggplant, and a handful of chopped green onion; instead of lemon juice, lime juice; regular salt instead of sea salt. (In other words, it was "using up odd bits and ends in the fridge" and "too lazy to go shop for stuff we're out of" day.) Still delicious! :)