Lemon roasted fennel tossed with olives, oranges, raisins, and breadcrumbs for the Food Network #FallFest.
It’s time for the Food Network blogger-fest again – and as we wrap up #FallFest, the theme this week is a holiday side dish. I like to make side dishes that can do double duty as an entrée if I (or anyone else) want to go vegetarian for the meal. Over the past few years, I’ve made countless batches of brown rice, farro, quinoa, couscous, or barley to use as a pilaf-y kind of base to be tossed with what everyone else is using as a side. It’s been so successful, in fact, that I typically keep bags of cooked grains in the freezer, all labeled, so I can pull a meal together quickly. I just reheat the grains with whatever seasonings and condiments will marry well with the side, and I’m good to go.
This dish of lemon roasted fennel topped with kalamata and green olives, lemon, oranges, raisins and breadcrumbs is a perfect example. I pull some cooked quinoa from the freezer, heat it up with some squirts of lemon and orange juices, throw in a pinch of fennel seed, mix in some of the roasted fennel dish, and I’ve got a great dinner!
The fennel and lemon can be roasted two days in advance, and the entire dish can be made through the step of folding in the breadcrumb mixture. Just cover with plastic and refrigerate. Rewarm at 350˚F for 20 minutes before continuing with the recipe.
As a side dish, it’s great served with almost any meat – but lamb or chicken would be my first choices.
Just nix the gorgonzola to make this vegan. The cheese adds a sharp contrast to the dish that nice for added depth, but it’s still really good without it.
- 4 large fennel bulbs
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- Juice from 2 large navel oranges
- ¼ cup sliced kalamata olives
- 2 Tbsp sliced green olives
- 2 tsp minced roasted lemons
- ¼ cup yellow raisins
- ⅔ cup Panko or homemade breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp gorgonzola
- 1 navel orange, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp chives
- 2 Tbsp pomegranate seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Slice each fennel bulb into 8 wedges and place in a baking pan. Lay the thin lemon slices over and around the fennel. Drizzle with olive oil and dust with salt, pepper and thyme. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender.
- Bring the orange juice to a simmer in a skillet over medium-high heat. When reduced by half, it will begin to caramelize. Add the olives, minced roasted lemon, raisins, and breadcrumbs, and sauté until fragrant and the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted.
- Remove the remaining roasted lemons from the baking dish, sprinkle the Gorgonzola over the fennel, and fold the breadcrumb mixture into the fennel.
- (If making this ahead, you can stop here, cover with plastic and refrigerate. Rewarm at 350F for 15 minutes before continuing.)
- Broil for 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the fennel and breadcrumbs are lightly crisped.
- Remove and sprinkle with the finely chopped orange, chives, and pomegranate seeds.
- Serve warm.
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