For the record, I hate black licorice, too. Really hate it. But fennel – it’s different, so bright and crunchy and sort of menthol in a way when raw, but sweet and mellow when cooked. Just try it. Really.
Seared, Roasted Fennel with Thyme and Sherry Vinegar (PDF)
Recipe 297 of 365
Every day, it seems, I’m searing some sort of protein on the stovetop, and finishing it in the oven. Here’s an example where the same technique benefits a vegetable: If you sear fennel first on the stovetop, then roast it in the oven, you get the flavorful, colorful crust on the cut sides of the fennel from the high heat sear, and a soft, sweet interior. If you’re in a rush, all this means caramelized fennel in less time than it takes in the oven alone.
TIME: 10 minutes prep
MAKES: 4 servings
2 fennel bulbs (about 1 pound total)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Trim the stalks shooting out of the top of the fennel to the base of the “fingers,” then take a thin slice off the tough bottom end of the bulb. Cut each bulb into 8 pieces vertically through the core, so that the core helps keep each wedge intact. Place the fennel wedges in a bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the fennel, one flat side down. Sear for 5 minutes, or until the fennel is nicely browned, then flip to the other flat side, and cook another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the thyme around the pan, add the sherry, and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the fennel is soft, turning fennel once during roasting. Serve hot.