It’s only Wednesday, but this week has been one for the books and I’m in need for something spectacular. Roasted fennel bulbs could really be the answer to anything in my book and anise-laced fennel caramelized in a delightfully sweet combo of Meyer lemons and honey seemed like it should do the trick.
The drab dreary days of rain, mud, and snow have been beating us down here in Dallas for the past few weeks. Combine that with the fact that it’s damn near impossible to get projects shot in the studio for clients due to the pint-sized munchkin following me around (because school is basically shut down until we see sun) and it’s only a matter of time before I check myself into an institution. I don’t mean to complain, we desperately need the rain, but I’m tired of this weather. If I wanted to live in Seattle, I’d use flea markets for clothes, survive on microbrews and coffee alone, live on a houseboat and call it a damn day. Actually, that doesn’t sound too bad but I look horrible in a poncho and get sea sick — hence, why I live in Dallas.
When Monday rolled around the corner I thought our days of being shut-ins were finally over and I was deliriously happy to throw the kid back in school. Everything was going smoothly and I was actually getting work done but just like an elephant dart to the face it all came crashing down with a death of an owl. One overweight pudgy little owl who decided to get himself stuck in a ventilation pipe at my daughter’s school, die, and create a massive build up of carbon monoxide so lethal it has closed the school down indefinitely. So, here I sit staring at the downpour of rain that will soon freeze to ice tonight and trap us in the house for another few days wondering when the hell this winter will end and our lives will return to their normal (if anything we do can be called normal) schedules.
Of course, my answer to this question is food. A taste of spring should, at least for now, make me ignore the fact that winter is not giving up it’s death grip just yet. With a handful of Meyer lemons and fennel I jumped in the kitchen to create something so flavorful and delicious it would jump my senses into spring — and that it did.
Meyer Lemon and Honey Roasted Fennel
Floral Meyer lemons and a touch of golden honey meet beautifully caramelized roasted fennel in this amazing springtime dish that is insanely simple to prepare.
It all begins with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper over quartered fennel bulbs. Roast for 15 minutes.
Next, combine Meyer lemon juice with a touch of honey. I’m using Meyer lemons because they’re a delicious combination of lemon and sweet mandarins with low acidity that are in season this time of year (winter-spring). Of course, you are welcome to use regular lemons if you can not find Meyer lemons but the flavor just might be more tart.
Pour the lemon mixture over the roasting fennel and continue to roast until the juice has reduced completely and the fennel is golden.
Top with toasted pine nuts and there you have it, my friends. The most unbelievable roasted fennel that for a few fleeting moments completely convinced me it was truly spring.
wine: (white) Riesling or an Alto Adige Pinot Grigio
beer: Saison or Hefeweizen/Wit
Floral Meyer lemons and a touch of golden honey meet beautifully caramelized roasted fennel in this amazing springtime dish that is simple to prepare.
- 3 fennel bulbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch of sea salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pure honey
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts*
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- With a knife, remove the fennel stalks reserving a few fennel fronds (the green leaf-like part). Slice the bulbs in quarters. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper or a large oven-proof skillet. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
- In a bowl, whisk to combine lemon juice and honey until the honey is dissolved.
- Flip the fennel quarters and pour lemon mixture evenly over the fennel. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 20-25 minutes or until lemon juice has reduced completely and the fennel is golden. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and a fennel fronds. Serve.
by Meredith Steele
* To toast pine nuts, heat nuts in a skillet over medium-high heat. Toast, stirring frequently until pine nuts are golden, about 3-5 minutes.