This is not a pretty side dish. It's kind of brown and green and not terribly appealing. But do not be put off by it's looks. This is a very simple and incredibly tasty vegetable side dish. I have been eyeing making this Fennel with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Garlic since I started peeking through my all time favorite cookbook. Yes. I'm talking about Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop. It's just such a complete cookbook, chock full information and recipes for pretty much every vegetable I can get. Like tonight's vegetable was close race between some beets, some baby zucchini, and the fennel that I've been meaning to cook for a while.
I'm glad I chose the fennel. It's not as pretty as the sweet potatoes that I made using a sweet and spicy spice blend sent to me by the lovely Amanda at Mrs. W's Kitchen. Seriously, go check her out because she has all kinds of healthy great recipes that keep in mind Diabetic and gluten free lifestyles. The fennel, ugly as it may be was subtly licorice flavored and the sweetness of the raisins and the crunch of the pine nuts set it off perfectly.
Sauteed Fennel with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Garlic
2 medium fennel bulbs
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves minced
2 Tbsp golden raisins
2 Tbsp pine nuts
Freshly ground black pepper
Trim the stems and fronds from the fennel. Discard the stems; mince enough of the fronds to yield 1 tablespoon. Trim a thick slice from the base of the bulb and remove any tough or blemished outer layers. Cut the bulb in half through the base and use a small, sharp knife to remove the triangular piece of the core from each half. With each fennel piece flat side down and your knife parallel to the work surface, slice crosswise to yield several 1/2 inch thick slices. Cut the slices lengthwise to yield long strips about 1/2 inch thick.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the fennel strips and toss to coat them with oil. Cook, stirring often, over medium heat until the fennel has softened considerably but still offers some resistance, about 15 minutes.
Add the garlic, raisins, and pine nuts and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the minced fennel fronds and serve immediately.