Cooking is such a huge part of my life, that most of the time I’m not ‘just only cooking’. Like that night that I tried to make these Honey Lemon Glazed Fennel Slices. I was busier trying to separate two fighting cats than actually cook dinner. The dish was very forgiving.
I’m not sure about the cats, though.
My main meal is dinner. Sometimes I go fancy for lunch, making a salad. But usually I snack some leftovers, make a grilled cheese (tosti) or keep it very simple, very Dutch and eat 2 slices of bread.
Yeah, that’s what we’re famous for, even on the highest governmental levels we treat our guests on white rolls with Gouda cheese or ham and a glass of milk. Note: that’s one slice of cheese or ham! On our famous ‘broodje gezond’ (aka healthy roll) we serve both with a slice of tomato and some lettuce. On a soft white roll.
We Dutch know our lunch!
Dutch dinners then, that’s a totally different story.
At least of me.
Traditionally, Dutch dinners are quite like our lunches: every night more or less the same: cooked potatoes, boiled vegetables and some meat. Plain. Simple. But hard to make good as you’re juggling to get everything done at the same time in 3 different pots and pans on your stove.
When I started to cook I soon opted for 1 or 2 pot dishes. Pasta and sauce. Rice with a stir-fry. Noodles with veggies and chicken.
Nowadays my repertoire expanded. To Middle Eastern style dishes. With or without meat, both is fine. Vegan even sometimes. Some Asian influences. But what remains the same is my love for veggies.
Fennel is on of my favorite vegetables. To chagrin of Mr. Eats as he’s not so fond of it. But when I had 1 bulb leftover from my cooking class Enjoy the Seasons (aka learning to cook with vegetables), I had to make something with it.
For inspiration I sometimes go to the blog of a fellow veggie lover from the Netherlands. The recipe for Caramelized Fennel with Saffron Sauce she made to review a cookbook was my inspiration for a recipe that I taught in the cooking class. And the next day, I made these Honey Lemon Glazed Fennel Slices as part of my dinner.
And that cat fight? Read the recipe!
Honey Lemon Glazed Fennel Slices
A great side dish for 2. I served it with farro, a bright, chewy ancient wheat variety grain, that I flavored with thyme and a spritz of lemon juice. Next to a quick beet salad with fermented cucumber and fennel fronts. And a beet leaf frittata on the side.
I used for a side for 2:
1 fennel bulb
1 knob of butter (about 1-2 Tablespoons)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
salt + pepper
Cut the fennel bulbs. If necessary, clean fennels, by removing ugly spots with a vegetable peeler. Or complete remove outer layer. Set the fronts, if any, aside for garnish. Half the fennel bulbs, wig out core and cut each into 4 parts, leaving the layers attached.
Slice the fennel bulb. If necessary, clean fennel bulb, by removing ugly spots with a vegetable peeler. Or complete remove outer layer. Set the fronts, if any, aside for garnish. Half the fennel bulbs, wig out core, but make sure all layers are still attached to each other. Slice the fennel in 1/5th inch | 1/2 cm thick slices. (slice from bottom to top)
Brown the butter. In a wide skillet heat the butter. Once it’s golden brown add the fennel slices. Make only one layer in the pan. Brown them on both sides, and move them to the side of your skillet to make space for the other slices, if any.
At this point I heard some noises. I turned of the hood and listen some better. It came from outside. Cats. Hissing. So I turned off the heat and walked inside my garden. At the back I saw our tuxedo cat Japi nose to nose with another cat. Tails between their legs and staring angrily at each other.
Our nickname for that other cat is Hitlercat, due to it’s obvious black mustache and his (hers?) terrorizing both my cats on a regular basis. While other cats seem to be, well, kinda welcome in our garden, this one is not. Six months after our move in, things are still not settled between them.
The cats noticed my arrival, I saw their ears moving, but they couldn’t care less. With sounds I tried to cheer the other black and white cat away. I threw my sandal. Missed, as that was my aim. [Really!] But they moved away from each other. Yeah.
Only to jump and roll over each other within a blink.
Oops. My brain turned into overdrive.
Water! Like I’ve seen in cartoons. I filled a bucket and threw it at them. The water, not the bucket. The other cat ran away and my Japi searched for a private spot underneath the bushes to lick his wounds.
To be continued I’m afraid.
Back to the kitchen!
In the residual heat of the pan, the fennel slices had continued to cook and were soft enough to my taste. You also can walk away from your pan, clean out your dish washer, separate two fighting kids, check your instagram, or just let the slices slowly simmer on very low heat until they’re soft enough to your taste.
Glaze the fennel by adding lemon juice and honey and carefully stir in. Let cook for a bit until all slices are caramelized and glazed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with the fennel fronts.
If you love fennel as much as I do, why don’t you try these fennel recipes as well?