Orange-Balsamic Caramelized Fennel

I am very fond of fennel.  It has a surprising, slightly anise-like taste that often surprises guests, who don’t expect that in a vegetable.  This is a lovely dish, both to look at and to eat. I served it at room temperature at a buffet, but it would be nice warm as a side dish or cold as a first course/salad.  If you get very large fennel bulbs, the outer pieces may be tough and you will have to discard them.  The original recipe was from Cooking Light.

Orange Balsamic Caramelized Fennel

4 (1-pound) fennel bulbs with stalks, trimmed and stalks removed.
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons sugar, divided
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, sliced

Cut each fennel bulb in half through root end; cut each half into quarters to form 32 total pieces.  Chop 1 tablespoon of the fronds; reserve.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 8 fennel pieces in a single layer in pan; sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove fennel from pan; recoat pan with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining fennel and sugar.

Return all of the fennel to the pan. Stir in broth and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer about 35 minutes or until fennel is crisp-tender and liquid is almost evaporated, turning occasionally. (The fennel bulbs will separate into pieces.) Top with reserved fennel fronds. This makes 8 servings at less than 1 gram of fat/serving.  It served about 15 people at the buffet (there was lots of other food) and was very good as a leftover for lunch.


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I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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