This side dish is elegant and luscious. Perfect to pair with chicken, pork or a mild fish like cod or sea bass. But, if you prefer to walk the vegetarian path, enjoy it over farro, barley, or as we did, a colorful quinoa. Add a hearty loaf of bread, and you will be all set…
The recipe is published in Vegetable Literacy the latest cookbook from Deborah Madison. Lisa from “Lisa is Cooking” wrote a great review about the book a few months ago, and shared a recipe from it, check it out by jumping here. Deborah Madison has the amazing ability of bringing the best out of the most humble vegetable. I do not own a copy of this particular book (bravely resisted so far), but her classic Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is part of our collection.
The recipe is available online, just click here.
Definitely the most important advice is to take the time to brown the fennel well, that will ensure a deeper flavor in the end. I don’t recommend this dish for those who have issues with fennel, because its flavor is very prominent. I crumbled goat cheese over the braise, allowing it to melt down in the liquid, and right before serving added the greens from the fennel, minced. As the recipe states, if your fennel bulbs came without the tops, use parsley instead. My main modification from the published recipe was to squeeze a little lemon juice all over, and reduce slightly the amount of tomato paste. I thought three tablespoons seemed excessive, so I added only two. Capers and saffron are fantastic together, by the way.
Because we have nothing against a little meat with our veggie goodness, a boneless, grilled chicken breast was part of our dinner too. As far as looks are concerned, I suppose a fully white quinoa would have been better, but the bag of tricolor quinoa acquired months ago at a Trader Joe’s was winking at me from the pantry. I spooned a little of the braising sauce over the chicken, so that it all got tied together in a beautiful caper & saffron glory!
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