Whether your family celebrates Easter or Passover, I hope your weekend was filled with reflection, appreciation, warmth and love — as all holidays should! My weekend was wonderful and included lots of family time, which was really good for my soul. Naturally, we ate a lot (a whole lot) and I just had to share this delicious side dish from our Passover table.
Fennel is a vegetable I have little to no experience with. In fact, it’s an ingredient I tend to dislike, mostly due to its licorice-like taste. But when searching for the perfect Pesach side dish, I came across (what seemed to be) the most delightful fennel recipe. Since it’s a little out of the ordinary, I ran it by our Seder hosts in advance and got the thumbs up.
Thankfully, there’s a new Sprouts around the corner from our place and they have every vegetable you can imagine — and at the most affordable prices, too! I grabbed all but one of the fennel bulbs they had in stock (came home with 5 in total) plus a bottle of Kosher white cooking wine, dried figs, dried apricots and a carton of orange juice. For the most part, I followed the recipe, but I did tweak it a little bit to my taste buds and it turned out just lovely!
While they may look a little intimidating, trimming the fennel bulbs is actually the easiest task of all. Remove all the fronds and just focus on the bulbs themselves. Rinse and cut each bulb in half, then cut each half in half again or into thirds if you’re working with a larger bulb.
** Note: Because I was making fennel for 15 people, I had to complete the following twice.
Once the fennel is prepped and ready to go, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides of the fennel pieces and place in the pan (crowding is fine, they shrink up anyway). Cook for 4-5 minutes per side.
Next, add 10-12 dried apricots and 10 dried figs (cut in half) to the pan along with 1/2 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup of orange juice. Lower the heat, cover and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes.
When everything looks good and ready, spoon into a serving dish. Pour 1.5 tablespoons of orange juice on top of the dish prior to serving. It adds a nice freshness to the bite.
I have to admit that this recipe may have taken me to the other side when it comes to fennel. I couldn’t stop tasting as I was cooking, which in my kitchen is a sure sign of something yummy! It’s definitely a different dish to serve at Passover but I’m saving this one to use again, for sure. Everyone just ate it up! Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did.