Braised Fennel with Oil-Cured Olives (Finocchio Brasato con Olive)

This is a super simple snack that I whipped up, but would be a great complement to some simply baked or sautéed fish, poultry or tempeh.

I love fennel and I love that it’s good for you, as well as low in calories.  Luckily, it’s a fall/winter vegetable so it’s currently in season!  Unfortunately, my jaw has trouble with it lately in its raw form, so I can only enjoy it cooked.  This was a good way to satisfy my craving in a way that I can enjoy.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large head fennel (outer parts removed), halved, cored, cut into fourths and sliced

1 large shallot, quartered and sliced

2/3 cup vegetable broth

6 oil-cured olives (the wrinkly kind)

1/2 lemon

salt and pepper

What to do:

Heat oil with a bit of salt in a medium pan over medium heat.  Add shallot and cook for 2 minutes, until it begins to soften.

Add fennel, broth and olives.  Cover and turn heat to medium-low.  Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and the broth is reduced.  (If the broth is cooked off before the fennel is soft, add more.)

Once the vegetables are soft, squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon and add salt and pepper.  Cook an additional 2 minutes and serve immediately.

Finocchio Brasato con Olive:

Ingredienti:

2 cucchiaini olio d’oliva

1 finocchio, dimezzato, torsolo rimosso, e tagliato in quarti e affettato

1 scalogno grande, tagliato a quarti e tritato

175 ml di brodo di verdura

6 olive (quelle sgualcite)

metà di un limone

sale e pepe

Cosa fare:

Scaldate l’olio con un pò di sale in una padella media sul fuoco medio.  Aggiungete lo scalogno e fate cuocere per 2 minuti, finché cominci ad ammorbidire.

Aggiungete il finocchio, il brodo e le olive.  Coprite e abbassate un pò il fuoco.  Lasciate cuocere per 10-15 minuti, agitando ogni tanto, finché la verdura sia tenera e il brodo sia ridotto.  (Se il brodo si riduca prima della cottura, aggiungete un pò di più.)

Appena tenera la verdura, spruzzateci il limone e insaporite di sale e pepe a piacere.  Fate cuocere altri 2 minuti e servite subito.


Citrus-Scented Asparagus and Pea Soup

Asparagus is an incredibly potent antioxidant and has a surprising amount of protein.  In fact, thanks to the protein and fiber from the asparagus and peas, as well as all of the liquid, this purée is quite filling.   This is a great way to have a quick vegetable-packed meal.  However, if you like more substance, try with Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs or Ricotta Dumplings.

Serves 4-6

What you need:

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1 yellow onion, medium dice

2 large shallots, roughly chopped

2 cups light chicken stock or bone broth

2 bunches fresh asparagus, halved

zest of half an orange

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (preferably Meyer)

salt, to taste

pinch white pepper

½ cup grass fed whole milk or unsweetened almond milk

What to do:

Sweat peas, onion and shallots in oil with a bit of salt in medium-sized pot.  Add broth and bring to a simmer.  Meanwhile, bring a separate small pot of salted water to a boil and set up a small ice bath.

Add asparagus, reserving a few spears to steam, and cook until just done. It is important that the asparagus does not overcook, or else it will turn muddy green. While the asparagus is cooking in the pot, blanch remaining spears in the boiling water for one minute and shock in ice cold water for 2 minutes.  Set aside.

Lower heat and purée with hand blender until very smooth (You can use a Vitamix or high speed blender if you have one, which would give the smoothest result).  Turn off the heat and add zest and citrus juices.

Add milk and season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately with asparagus tips for garnish, a bit of zest and optional dollop of yogurt into each bowl.

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