Caramelized fennel with roasted garlic lemon vinaigrette – sweet and soft, with a touch of licorice, the fennel, topped with creamy goat cheese, and doused in roasted garlic lemon dressing, toasted walnuts and parsley, literally melts in your mouth.
Aaaand it’s finally D-Day! In my tiny world this means kitchen Demolition Day, and I cannot tell you how excited I am!! I’ve been planning this since the beginning of the year, and patiently waiting for this moment, as things kept dragging on, and getting postponed. I kept telling myself what’s one more month…or one more week, after waiting for years!
It’s finally happening! The kids are quite excited too. They said good-bye to the old kitchen this morning, before they left for school, and even got a little nostalgic 🙂 I made myself a big cup of coffee, stripped the kitchen clean of the last remnants of possessions, hidden ‘treasures’ and long-forgotten junk, and took a few ‘before’ pictures, then watched as old wood, and tile crumbled down into a heap.
I set up a makeshift ‘cooking’ station in the garage with the bare minimum. I only have 2 pans out, and one borrowed induction cooktop. It really feels like we’re camping in our own house – the small portable table, sitting next to the cooler, full of supplies, eating out of disposable plates, missing all sorts of conveniences, making constant trips to the living room to grab food from the fridge, or rinse the dishes at the tiny wet bar sink (soon to be gone too!). So far so good though – it feels like an adventure! We’re planning to eat out more these days, and that adds another level of excitement, especially for the kids.
This also means, I that I will desert this blog space for a couple of months, and miss the best time of the year! I am not sure at what point I’ll be able to make a proper meal, or photograph it, so I can share with you, but I suspect it will be after the holidays. I will try to hang around as much as possible though. Luckily I managed to make a few recipes in the days leading up to the kitchen demo, two of which are perfect for Thanksgiving.
So without further ado, let me introduce you to this fantastic side dish of caramelized fennel with roasted garlic and lemon dressing, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, and fresh parsley. If it sounds too good to your ears, it’s even better in your mouth! The fennel, when caramelized, looses its crisp licorice flavor, and transforms into a silky soft, luscious bite, with just a touch of anise, and a whole lot of sweetness. To further enhance the caramelized flavors, I dress it up with roasted garlic mashed into a luscious dressing with a bit of lemon juice. When you top all this deliciousness with creamy goat cheese, it literally melts in your mouth. I added a whole lot of fresh parsley, but fresh dill will be great too. And as always, for some extra oomph, I tossed some roasted, salted walnuts in there too, and then gobbled up unimaginable quantities of it…
This is such a special recipe – it shot up to the top 5 of my favorite side dishes (next to this, this, and this), and will make a regular appearance on my table from now on (and not just for Thanksgiving). I hope you make it, and love it as much as I do!!
Caramelized fennel with roasted garlic lemon dressing - sweet and soft, with a touch of licorice, the fennel, topped with creamy goat cheese, and doused in roasted garlic lemon dressing, toasted walnuts and parsley, literally melts in your mouth.
- 4 large fennel bulbs
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 whole head of garlic
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 300 °F.
Spread the walnut pieces on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with a 1-2 Tbs of water, and salt. Roast for 10-15 minutes, stirring once. Check after 10 min, as they tend to burn fast. Reserve for later.
Increase the oven temperature to 400 °F.
Cut off the tip of the head of garlic, without separating the individual garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in aluminum foil.
Clean the fennel bulbs, by removing the leafy parts, and cutting off the bottoms. Cut in half and remove the core. Slice each half thinly.
Toss the sliced fennel with the olive, oil and salt, and spread on a baking sheet. Add the wrapped garlic head in the corner. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or so, stirring once or twice. Check on the garlic after 30 minutes - it should develop a deep caramel color, and it should be sticky and soft.
Squeeze the garlic pulp out, and using a mortar and pestle, mash it with some sea salt. Add the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and mix well, then add the olive oil, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Taste and adjust the salt if needed.
Lightly toss the caramelized fennel with half of the chopped parsley, and dressing, and arrange on a shallow dish. Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese, and toasted walnuts on top, and add the rest of the parsley, and dressing.