Caramelized Fennel with Goat Cheese
(adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s "Plenty")
yield: 4 servings
4 fennel bulbs
2 T unsalted butter, divided (preferably Organic Valley Pasture Butter, kind of because it's organic, but mostly because it's the butter version of heaven)
3 T olive oil, divided
2 T granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
sea salt to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T fresh dill, minced
1/2 cup fresh, local, goat cheese, broken into chunks or spooned into a pretty shape
zest of 1 lemon
Remove the branch and root ends from each fennel bulb, keeping a few lacy fronds to garnish with. Cut the bulb into 1/2-inch thick slices.
Melt 1 T butter with 1 1/2 T oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the sliced fennel in a single layer (don’t crowd the pan or the vegetables won't caramelize - this will take a couple of batches). Cook without moving until just brown, then turn and brown the other side. Remove and reserve on a plate. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil, and fennel slices. Add the sugar, fennel seeds, and a pinch each of salt to the pan. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, then add the fennel back to the pan and cook undisturbed for another 1-2 minutes to caramelize. Return to the plate to cool. Gently mix the cooled fennel, garlic, and dill together. Spoon onto a decorative plate and top with the goat cheese, lemon zest, fennel fronds, and an extra pour of your favorite organic, extra virgin, unfiltered olive oil.