How do feel about fennel? I love it, and I’ve made all kinds of recipes with it, both ground as a spice and with the actual fennel bulb (Fun fact: fennel is an herb, not a vegetable). This simple herb has a licorice flavor that gets more subtle the longer it’s cooked and adds flavor to whatever it’s cooked with. It’s delicious with roasted chicken, salmon fillet, or all by itself. That brings me to today’s recipe, Sautéed Fennel with Garlic. It looks like a smile yet flavorful side dish that I’ll love, but there’s only one way to know for sure. Let’s get cooking!
This recipe from Greece: The Cookbook embodies everything we love about a good vegetable side dish. It’s quick and easy to prepare, so you can focus on making the rest of the meal, and the flavors are simple and clean.
This recipe promises to be quick and easy, and it’s off to a good start. It has a whopping seven ingredients, and that’s including salt and pepper. Nice!
I even had most of the ingredients on hand. I did have to shop for the tomato juice and fennel bulbs, but they were easy to find at my usual grocery store.
The only downside to this dish is fennel can be a little pricey. The bulbs I found were $2.99 each, $10.61 for four. I’ve found them for as much as $3.79 each. That’s an expensive side dish for me, so I kept the main simple (I had some steaks in the freezer, bought on sale, of course).
Sautéed Fennel with Garlic promised to be quick and easy, and it mostly delivered on that promise. The recipe lists a total time of 30 minutes, but it took me 38 minutes.
The prep work was very simple, with just a little slicing, mincing, and measuring involved. There was a lot of fennel once it was trimmed and quartered, so I chose one of my biggest pans, a 12-inch cast-iron pan.
Unfortunately, there was too much fennel to saute it all ad once. The pan was way too crowded with all of the fennel, so I removed half and sauteed it in two batches.
That was what added the extra eight minutes to the total time, but it was worth it. Sauteeing in smaller batches allowed the fennel to come into contact with the hot pan and brown a bit, adding some extra flavor.
I have a feeling even if I had used my biggest pan, a 5-quart saute pan, I would not have been able to saute the fennel in a single batch. I will have to test that theory!
With both batches of the fennel browned, it was time to finish things up. That was easily done by adding the tomato juice, salt, and pepper, then simmering the covered pan for 10 minutes.
After that, I removed the pan from the heat and added the lemon juice and fennel fronds. Done! I had a beautiful side dish to serve with dinner.