Braised Baby Fennel

Plate of braised fennel next to fresh fennel.
Fennel is an extremely versatile vegetable with a delicious anise flavor. You can use the bulb, fronds, and even the pollen.

The bulb can be used as part of a white mirepoix (onions/leeks, celery, fennel) in seafood stews, cooked and served in wedges, or shaved raw into salads. In this recipe we braise the particularly sweet and tender baby fennel bulbs. Depending on how small they are, you can cut them in half or leave them whole.

5-6baby fennel bulbs
1handful of thyme sprigs
1bay leaf
1/4 cupwhite wine
2 cupswater (more if needed)
olive oil

Trim the fennel bulbs as needed. Cut away the root, trim off the shoots, and remove bruised or blemished out layers if they exist (less likely when they are small). Cut the bulbs in half and then into similarly sized wedges. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. Toss in the fennel bulbs and lightly brown on multiple sides.

Now add the water, wine, bay, and thyme. Use more water if needed to keep the fennel covered. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 – 12 minutes, until the core is tender. Serve warm as a side dish or at room temperature in a salad.