How to sauté your fennel for an elegant side dish

Dec 11, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Fennel is one of the vegetables I usually grab from the vegetable stands when I'm in a hurry and have no idea what to prepare for a meal. It's an easy ingredient to put into fresh salads, a perfect addition to a crudité platter, and it can be quite a delicious gratin. But when it's sautéed, well, that's another flavor story, because its juices run while cooking in the saucepan, intensifying its flavor.

Fennel is also an excellent choice of vegetable in terms of nutrition. In salads, it partners perfectly with oranges, and with this simple sauté, clementines make an excellent choice to mix it with. And for an added crunch — pistachios.

These three ingredients complete this simple dish, but the trick to making the flavors come out is cooking them for a long time and letting the plate rest before serving.

Fennel, clementines and pistachios

Sautéed fennel, clementines and pistachios recipe

I like this simple dish because it doesn't require many ingredients, and it becomes tastier as you cook it longer in the saucepan. So five minutes more matters for the overall taste, and be sure to let it rest before serving.

Serves 2

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 fennel bulb, rinsed
  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 clementines, peeled and sliced
  • 1 clementine, juice only
  • 1 tablespoon crushed pistachios
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice the fennel in half vertically, cut away the base, and then slice the fennel into strips. Clean under each layer of skin to wash away any trapped sediments. Set aside.
  2. In a hot saucepan with olive oil over low-medium heat, sauté the fennel until it starts to color.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar, and stir it around the fennel for a minute.
  4. Add the clementines and the juice, and cook until the fennel starts to become soft. Add more olive oil if it's starting to dry up.
  5. Add the pistachios, and season with salt and pepper. Toss for another 5 minutes, and then turn off the heat.
  6. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

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