Fennel gets beautifully sweet when cooked, literally, almost candy-like, so there is very little that must be done to enhance its flavor. Do not be tempted to substitute canned or jarred olives! The fresh kalamata olives are key this dish.
Sauteed Fennel With Tomatoes and Olives
olive oil (for the pan)
1/2 large onion (or one small)
1 clove garlic
1 can of whole tomatoes (you’ll use 6 tomatoes)
8 kalamata olives (fresh)
salt and pepper
Cut the top bits off the fennel so you’re left just with the big bulb. Cut the bulb in half vertically. Then cut slices of fennel, medium thickness, but thick enough that there is a bit still connected at the bottom, to keep the fennel segments of your slice together. That make sense? Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add the fennel until slightly browned and soft, but don’t over cook.
Remove the fennel from pan. Chop onion into thin slivers and saute in the empty fennel pan. Add the chopped garlic. Let those two brown, then add six whole tinned tomatoes and crush them up a bit in the pan to release the juices. Add some salt and pepper. Let the sweetness of the onion and garlic sweeten the tomato for about 3 minutes. Add a touch of s&p.
Take the flesh off half of the olives and add to pan, add the other half of the olives in their whole form. Stir just to warm the olives but don’t “cook” them.
Place this on a platter and top with the fennel. It’s outstanding even at room temp, so make it a couple hours before if you want.
Makes enough for a side-dish for 6 or more substantial part of a meal for 4.
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