Fennel is one of my favourite vegetables at this time of year – even if you don’t like the taste of liquorice, the aniseed flavour of fennel soon mellows as soon as it is cooked. It is a beautiful contrast to pork or roast meats or a barbecue and is invariably well-priced.
I teamed some baby fennel with crumbed pork neck and celeriac for a mouth-watering meal in a dish that is both speedy to make as it is delicious.
4 baby fennel OR 2 large fennel bulbs; 2 medium Granny Smith apples; 1 clove garlic, finely diced; 1 tbsp olive oil; 1 tbsp butter; 1 tsp fennel seed; 2 tbsp cider vinegar; ½ cup apple juice or vegetable stock
Trim the fennel bulbs of their stems and chop the bulbs down the centre, then into large chunks of about 2-3cm. Peel the apples, core them and chop roughly into 1cm dice.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the oil and butter and heat until the butter sizzles. Add the fennel and apple and sauté for five minutes until the apple is soft and golden.
Turn the heat up to high and add the vinegar and fennel seeds. Toss well to combine and let the vinegar cook off until a teaspoon of liquid remains. Add the juice or stock and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced and just about absorbed – there may only be a tablespoon or so of liquid left.
Serve the fennel and juices as a side dish with roast pork, chicken schnitzel or your next barbecued steak.
$7.40 for four people as a side dish.