This goes well with all kinds of things – with ham for lunch; or with grilled white fish for an elegant dinner….although beware – it IS very garlicky.
Recipe for fennel braised in vermouth with garlicky breadcrumbs
- 2 large fennel bulbs
- A few strands of saffron
- Olive oil – about 160ml/⅔ cup
- Smoked salt and freshly ground pepper (or a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes)
- Several grinds of nutmeg
- Fresh thyme
- 60g/½ cup walnut halves
- 100g/4 oz – two or three slices wholesome bread
- 25g/1 oz/a packet flat-leaved parsley
- 6 fat cloves of garlic, crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
- Generous grinds of black pepper (in fact I used Urfa pepper flakes)
- 120 ml/½ cup dry vermouth
- Preheat the oven to 210ºC.
- Cut the top off the fennel and put it to one side. Cut off any brown bits, and wash off any dirt or soil.
- Cut the fennel vertically in half, and then cut each half into three or four wedge shapes.
- Put into a shallow ovenproof dish. Pour over two tbsps. olive oil and the saffron, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix well. Pour in the dry vermouth.
- Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in an electric chopper or blender put the bread and the parsley (including the stems) and blitz until it is breadcrumbs.
- Peel and crush the garlic with the salt, and add that to the breadcrumbs – pulse again. Pour in 120ml/½ cup olive oil. Mix.
- Separately chop the nuts.
- Take the fennel out of the oven if you haven’t already. Mix in the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the nuts over, return to the oven for another five minutes.
- Serve, garnished with a few fronds of fennel on top.