26 Mar 2014
Oddly enough, I get most of my recipe ideas from Pinterest these days. I say odd because I think Pinterest is famous for recipes like diet coke cake, but I have found the secret tunnel of deliciousness. I follow Kristin Holt, and you should too. I’ve been reading her blog for years, and her food pins are right up my alley. I also pin a ton of stuff from Food52 and The Kitchn. And then when it’s time to go to the farmers’ market, I just pull up my pins and go from there. This gem is one of those finds. I have never actually cooked fennel before, and certainly not caramelized it. I have only sliced it, shaved it, and marinated it for salads. It is delicious that way too, but oh my heavens, this recipe is making fennel my new favorite vegetable.
Caramelization softens and sweetens fennel, replacing the sharp licorice taste with an almost buttery earthiness. It smells so good. And it tastes even better.
But now I realize I have forgotten to show you the fennel I was working with: enormous! They are just huge this time of year, and we always look forward to it.
This was the scene at the market a week later: fennel towers! I bought three more.
But back to the recipe at hand. I love chickpeas, and, even though couscous isn’t my favorite grain, I was intrigued by the idea of adding citrus. It was better than I had even imagined. This is seriously the best dinner I have made in a long time! The fennel frond on top adds back a little bite of licorice and a touch of crunch, which I always appreciate.
And so, in summary, make this tonight! You won’t be sorry.
Caramelized Fennel with Citrus, Chickpeas, and Couscous
Recipe from The Kitchn
1 large fennel bulb with fronds
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 cups (or 1 15-ounce can) cooked and drained chickpeas
10 Kalamata olives, halved and pitted
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup instant couscous
Trim fennel and cut into 1/4-inch thick wedges. Reserve fronds for garnish.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Add coriander, chickpeas, olives, and lemon juice to pan and stir to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, juice the orange into a liquid measuring cup and top off with water to make 1 1/2 cups of liquid. Add liquid to a small saucepan along with 1 tablespoon olive oil, orange zest, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a boil and stir in couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for at least 5 minutes.
To serve, fluff couscous grains with a fork and spread on a dish. Spoon chickpeas and fennel over couscous and garnish with fennel fronds.