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Related Ingredients
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Tasting Notes

Here, the sweet anise-tinged flavor of caramelized fennel pairs up with a sweetly acidic concentrated orange glaze.

A kick of spice from hot chilies follows the sweetness at first bite, and the addition of the thyme perfumes dish and brings a subtly piney flavor to the glaze. Fennel has a firm enough texture to retain its crunch after it is cooked, which gives the dish a hearty texture.

Tips & Techniques

  1. Fine fennel. For perfectly caramelized fennel, cook over high heat and practice restraint – don’t overcrowd the pan and don’t stir the fennel until it browns.
  2. Orange you glad. Reducing the orange juice helps to concentrate its flavor and give it the right consistency to glaze the fennel.
  3. It’s better with butter. Lightly browned butter smoothes out the acidity of the concentrated orange juice and imparts a nutty flavor to the glaze.

Toolbox

This tool is one we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1.  Peltex - This flexible, slotted spatula helps to gently remove the delicate fennel from the sauté pan once it cooks.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

  • Small pot
  • Medium sauté pan
  • Kitchen tweezers or tongs
  • Cake tester
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Peeler
  • Baking sheet or plate


Ingredients
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, strained (from about 4 pounds or 8 large oranges)
  • 2 whole fennel bulbs (about 1 ½ pounds total), trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon crushed dried hot chilies (such as Thai chilies or red chili flakes)
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Yield: Serves 4

Total Time: 1 hour

Active Time: 40 minutes

 

Method
  1. Place orange juice in a small pot over medium-high heat. Gently boil, reducing heat as needed, until reduce to 2/3 cup, about 15 to 20 minutes; set aside.
  2. Rinse and dry fennel bulbs. Using a peeler, peel away any blemishes or darkgreen spots on the outside of the fennel. Cut fennel bulbs in half lengthwise through the core. Cut each half lengthwise again into 3 (1 ¼ to 1 1/2-inchthick) wedges, leaving the core attached and wedges intact. Place on a baking sheet or plate, drizzle with a olive oil to lightly coat, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour enough oil into a large sauté pan to coat the bottom and place over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add segments of fennel and brown without moving, about 5 minutes. Flip and brown the other side, about 4 to 5 minutes more.
  4. Add garlic and cook, shaking the pan to coat in oil, until just lightly color, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add chili flakes, orange juice reduction, and thyme and let boil for a minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the fennel has softened and caramelized but is still slightly firm, and the juice has reduced to a thick glaze, about 8 to 10 minutes. (If the fennel is tender before the glaze is thick enough to hold a line on a wooden spoon, transfer fennel to a plate and continue to reduce glaze.)
  6. Add the butter and swirl the pan to incorporate. Remove from heat and discard thyme. Season glaze to taste with salt and pepper. Place fennel on a plate and drizzle with glaze.

Here is a great way to turn this dish into a meal

Roasted chicken & orange-braised fennel

 

This orange-braised fennel pairs well with a roasted chicken dish. Add roasted peppers and garnish with a bit of crunchy raw fennel.

 

 

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