Braised Fennel with Saffron & Tomato

I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty huge fan of braising. Even the word “braise”… <shiver of delight> There’s something warm and comforting about it! Not that we need warmth or comfort in the spring and summer, but regardless, it’s still one of my favorite things. I usually braise big pieces of meat, so this recipe, for braising fennel, is quite different.

Fennel is a very hard vegetable, usually shaved into super-thin slices on a mandoline (SO SCARED of those things – if you have the guts for it, read the traumatic tale of my sister’s fingers here) or finely chopped in salads. I’m not an overly-huge fan of the licorice/anise taste, though faint, but it’s growing on me.

This fennel is wedged into chunks and braised in tomato sauce to make it soft, with perfect tooth, and the addition of the saffron was a masterful stroke. My hat, once again, is off to David & Luise.

I was quite skeptical about the final dish, and it’s a wonder Joshua ate it. He gave it a higher grade than I thought he would, because it actually was very tasty. But be forewarned: it looks a little odd, and you have to be into eating your vegetables in tomato sauce.

Whatever you do, don’t skip the saffron!

Joshua says: 9 out of 10. You should know by now that for a perfectionist like myself, 8 or 9 is almost equivalent to 2 or 3. I like 10. The number 10 is pretty perfect. Let’s have more 10s. Anyway, I added feta cheese to the recipe – just a little sprinkle on top, and Joshua said that REALLY helped. The following day, we had it topped with extra slices of Bruschetta Chicken, which was his favorite way. I think some extra chew or texture or even a change of taste helps it out.


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