Red Wine-Braised Fennel and Onions with Stewed Tomatoes, Capers and Anchovies

Red Wine-Braised Fennel and Onions with Stewed Tomatoes, Capers and Anchovies

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30min/prep; 30min/cook
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Fennel is fantastic cooked, when its texture softens and its anise flavor becomes mellow and sweet. One common and delicious way to cook fennel is to simply sauté it with white wine and butter. Here, we switch up and put a Mediterranean twist on cooking fennel in wine, with red wine, along with a few complementary-flavored ingredients (our fresh onions, our canned stewed tomatoes, and anchovy fillets), and charred veggies to further boost the robust flavor of the dish.

This dish is super healthy, super nutritious, super easy, and is also super DELICIOUS!

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INGREDIENTS

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  • 2 fennel bulbs with fronds if available
  • 4 medium to large Roma tomatoes
  • 4 total red and/or white globe onions with the greens if available
  • 1 cup medium-bodied red wine (examples:  Merlot, Sangiovese, or Barbera)
  • 1 cup basic, canned stewed tomatoes (sauce)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic sliced
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp capers (drained and rinsed)
  • 3 anchovy fillets (may be omitted for strict vegetarian or vegan diets)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Preparation:

  • Fennel:
    • Cut the green fronds of the fennel from the bulb; set aside the fronds.
    • Wash the bulb well, cut off and discard any protruding or discolored lower (white) leaves and root stem from the bulb.
    • Slice the fennel bulb into 8 wedges:
      • Slice the bulb in half, front to root stem, slice each half in half yet again, repeat until the wedges are no more than 1/2 inches to 1 inch in width (see above photo); set aside.
  • Globe onions:
    • Wash the onions really well, remove and discard any wilted or discolored upper green leaves and lower white layers:
      • There are situations where the upper green onion leaf is wilted or discolored and should be discarded but the lower, white part of the leaf is still in great condition.  In this case, take a pairing knife and lightly cut into the top leaf layer and around the circumference, remove the upper leaf section above the circular cut (see above photo).
    • Cut the green leafy section at the point where the lower part turns from white to green, slice the bulb and thicker lower leaf area in half lengthwise; set aside.
  • Roma tomatoes:
    • Wash, slice in half lengthwise, using a “v” cut remove any tough stem base (see mise-en-place photo above); set aside.
  • Peel and slice (or mince, your preference)  the garlic cloves; set aside.

Cooking:

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  • Heat a large frying pan, preferably with vertical sides, to medium-high, wait a minute or two for the pan to heat up, add 1 tbsp olive oil, distribute the oil as evenly as possible, using tongs add the fennel wedges cut side down, pan-fry until they are lightly charred on both cut sides (see above-left photo); place on a large plate or platter.
  • Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan, distribute well, using tongs place the globe onion halves cut side down, pan-fry until they are lightly charred on the cut side (see above-left photo); place on the plate with the charred fennel wedges.
  • Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan, distribute well, using tongs place the halved Roma tomatoes cut side down onto the pan, pan-fry until they are lightly charred on the cut side; place on the plate with the other charred veggies.
  • Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan, add the garlic, stir, add the tomato sauce, dried herbs, and anchovies, stir continuously for 2-3 minutes until half the moisture in the sauce has evaporated and the sauce begins to caramelize.
    • Note:  The anchovy fillets will fall apart during cooking.
  • Deglaze the pan:
    • Add the red wine, vegetable stock, and capers, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Carefully return the charred veggies to the pan, first add the tomatoes cut side up, then the fennel wedges, and finally the globe onions.
  • Cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Spoon onto a large, moderately deep serving dish.  Garnish with fresh fennel leaves.
  • Serve with a sharp knife at each place setting, for cutting the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

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ENJOY!

Red Wine-Braised Fennel and Onions with Stewed Tomatoes, Capers, and Anchovies

This is work done for Worden Farm’s new blog, http://www.wordenfarmtotable.com.  Reposted with their permission.

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