Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Braised Fennel With White Wine & Pinenuts

I am relishing having all my cook books back. We kept them all in storage whilst we were in Singapore but now that I have got them all in the kitchen I am loving flicking through them and rediscovering old favourites. Even though I use the blogosphere and internet resources as inspiration for new recipes there is something reassuring about a good solid hardback cookbook to flick through. 

This recipe is one of those I have rediscovered since coming back to the UK. While I enjoy the fresh zingy taste of raw fennel this recipe is the one that made me fall in love with fennel. The flavour of the fennel  is mellow and sweet and the fennel bulb absorbs the wine to create a delicate & soft texture. I like to eat this as a vegetarian dish over brown rice but it also makes a great side dish with  roast chicken, lamb or pork or with fish. The original recipe I used from the Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook added a 1/4 cup of Parmesan at the end and butter instead of olive oil but I have made this dish dairy free and vegan and added pinenuts instead and it still tastes yummy. Feel free to substitute the cheese and butter back in if you prefer. 

Braised Fennel With White Wine & Pinenuts (Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish)
Vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free

2 Fennel bulbs
1.5tbs Olive oil 
Pinch of salt
Fresh black pepper
230-250ml/8floz/1cup White wine (vegan if necessary)
A handful of pinenuts

  • Trim the fennel stems and the very end of the bulb. Remove any tough outer layers and remove the fronds (retain for decoration to flavor another dish if you like). Thinly slice the fennel but keep the core in so that the layers all hold together. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large lidded pan. Once the oil is hot lay the fennel slices in the pan and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Add the wine and pinenuts and allow to simmer for a 10 mins with the lid on over a medium heat. 
  • Turn the fennel and continue to cook for a further 10 mins until the liquid is absorbed and the fennel has started to lightly brown. Add more wine if the pan runs dry before the fennel is cooked through. 
  • Serve immediately.

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