2 fennel bulbs
good lug of olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes
handful of roasted almonds
juice of a lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper
rocket leaves to serve
I can’t recall how this came to be on such high rotation in my kitchen – the combo of quick roasted fennel with chilli, lemon, almonds and rocket came across my radar somewhere and it stuck in my mind – thankfully, because it’s such a delicious thing. This is really pretty quick, everyone seems to love it, and if it’s not the crux of a hearty veg main then it’s a great side dish for meat or fish. Warm lemony fennel, I love you.
Pan roasted chilli fennel
Heat a heavy based pan, then douse well with olive oil. Cut off the stalks from the fennel and any damaged outer parts. Slice the fennel bulbs into quarters, keeping most of the core present and intact so they are easy to turn. Throw the chilli flakes and almonds in the pan and coat with oil, then add the fennel, laying each piece as flat as possible, and leave them to sizzle in the oil for a good 5 minutes before disturbing them to have a look – when well charred, turn them over and do the other edge.
After about 15 minutes, everything should be softened and sweet but still kind of crunchy. Season well with salt and pepper and lots of squeezed lemon on top. Add plenty of rocket to serve.
Hints and Tips
I've added a sprinkle of currants to the pan a few times when making this, which ups the sweetness even more.
Also bulking it up with florets of roasted cauliflower is good too. All the broccolli / cauli / romansesco brassicas are great charred like this actually, so you could try that if you need a much bigger serve but only have a few fennel on hand. Just char the brassicas separately so the pan doesn't get too steamy.
If your oven is on, you could throw this combo into a tray and roast it in there too.