Fennel with Tomatoes, Onion, and Raisins
One of Italy’s favorite root vegetables, finocchio (fee-no-keeo, a.k.a. fennel) has a wonderfully crisp texture and a flavor that borders on sweet with a trace of licorice.
This tender white bulb can be enjoyed raw for its crisp, juicy texture or cooked in a variety of ways. The most prized fennel originates from the region of Sicily. Fennel is high in vitamin A and is an excellent source of fiber, potassium, and calcium.
6 fennel bulbs, washed
6 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 c. raisins
1 small yellow or white onion, chopped
1 t. roasted cumin seeds, crushed slightly in mortar & pestle
2 T. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim off tops of fennel bulbs, then slice off tough root end. Rinse, then quarter the bulbs and peel off any tough outer leaves. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, boil water. Drop tomatoes into boiling water one by one. After a few seconds skins will pucker and begin to loosen. Remove immediately from water and slide skins off. Chop peeled tomatoes roughly and set aside.
Dry roast cumin seeds over medium-high heat just until aroma is released. Remove and crush slightly in mortar & pestle. Set aside.
Heat oil in deep pan and add chopped onion, then sauté until the onions begin to soften. Add quartered fennel bulbs and stir and sauté for 5 or so minutes, then add remaining ingredients and stir to combine all ingredients. Cover the pan and simmer the fennel-tomato mixture for 25-30 minutes or until fennel bulbs are easily pierced with a knife.
Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, dress with fruity Sicilian olive oil and serve.