A touch of sugar takes fennel to a whole new level of caramelized utopia
Fennel can be a divisive vegetable. It is crisp, bright and springy, but its strong licorice flavor (anise) does have its haters.
If you're of the latter camp, this dish could change your mind. Thin slices of fennel get tossed in a hot pan with butter until they're soft and starting to caramelize. A sprinkle of sugar helps to caramelize the fennel even further and softens its strong flavor. Lemon adds a zip of brightness at the end before the whole thing is topped with silky mascarpone.
Cut the stalks and fronds from a bulb of fennel. Save some fronds for the garnish, then quarter and thinly slice the bulb.
In a large sauté pan, melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the fennel slices to the pan and spread out evenly (cook in batches if need be). Season with salt to taste and cook until the fennel has softened and started to caramelize. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar over the fennel. Continue to cook until deeply caramelized and dark brown in spots, about 6 to 8 minutes. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over top and toss in the pan to coat.
Remove from the heat and serve topped with a dollop of mascarpone, the lemon zest and reserved fennel fronds.
Get more easy fennel recipes:
• Roasted Fennel with Parmesan
• Easy Braised Fennel
• Simple Arugula, Fresh Fennel Salad