They say that people either love licorice or hate it, and the licorice battleground happens to fall right through the middle of our household. Since fennel has what I would describe as a licorice flavor, I’ve never been a big fan. But this recipe, which I’m blatantly, um, borrowing from renowned Israeli chef Rafael Cohen, made me love fennel — at least, so long as its caramelized in butter and sugar.
The preparation is quite easy — basically, you’re steaming the fennel, sliced open and lying in a pool of butter and sugar, until its soft, and the underside has turned a caramelized brown. It’s also perfect for spring, because what better way to enjoy the season than to sink your teeth into a juicy green vegetable?
This works with leek, too.
For two servings:
1 large fennel root
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
butter for frying (±1-2 tablespoons)
6-7 saffron threads (this was in the original recipe, but in my opinion, it’s optional)
Slice the fennel in half, rinse out any dirt and place the halves cut-side down in a big pot, along with the other ingredients. Heat on a low flame until the fennel is soft, about 40 minutes. If the water boils off, add a bit more, so the fennel (and caramel) won’t burn.