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Monday, May 7, 2012

Braised Fennel in the Style of Naples (Napoletano Finocchi Brasati)

My picture does not do this dish justice : )
Trader Joes has the best price on fennel!

Fennel is in season which means we eat it at least once a week until it's gone from the markets. My favorite way to eat it is raw in tuna or chicken salad but I also like it braised alla Napoletano with lemon, olive oil, and garlic it is so delicious! If you are not fond of fennel's anise flavor you may want to try this method of braising it as it removes all of that slightly medicinal taste and leaves you with fennel's sweet mild flavor. My Mom always had a glass filled with water and stalks of fennel in it, kind of like a vase with flowers, on the table for large feasts, she explained that fennel is high in essential oils, hexane and anethole extract which have been shown to possess medicinal and antibacterial properties making it the perfect digestive. Maybe that's why so many Italian meat dishes contain fennel seeds?
Ingredients (serves 4)

2 fennel bulbs
1 lemon
olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
fresh parsley leaves chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the tops off and reserve feathery fronds, cut each fennel into 8 pieces. 
Place in a bowl of water with half the lemon juice and soak for 30 minutes.
In a skillet, which has a lid, heat enough olive oil to coat the entire bottom over medium heat and saute the drained fennel along with the garlic.
Cook until golden brown on both sides check to make sure it is not sticking or burning.
Season with salt and pepper. 
Add 1/4 cup of water and the rest of the lemon juice, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes on medium heat It should be tender and soft but still holding together.
Remove lid add parsley and reserved fronds, cover and cook for another minute or two.It will be soft and tender and most of the liquid will be gone and the fennel slices will still hold together.


Karina Russell said...

I love fennel. It's a newly discovered vegetable for me. Thanks for another way to prepare it. I've only done fennel scalloped potatoes, but they were so good I've made them several times. Well, I'm off to Trader Joes....

Wendy said...

I never thought about putting it in Tuna salad...can't wait to try that! I planted fennel in my garden this year...we'll see how that goes!