Caramelized Fennel Bulbs With Goat Cheese

Adapted via Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty
Serves: 2 to 3

♦ 2 small fennel bulbs
♦ 2 to 3 tbsp butter
♦ 2 to 3 tbsp olive oil
♦ 1 tbsp sugar
♦ 1 tsp salt
♦ 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
♦ 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
♦ 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
♦ freshly grated zest from 1 lemon
♦ 3 ounces goat cheese

To prepare the fennel bulbs, cut the leafy fronds and their stems off the top and then slice some of the root off the bottom (keeping the core of bulbs for the dish). Take each bulb and vertically slice into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.

Melt 1 tbsp of butter with 1 tbsp of oil in the pain – once the butter starts foaming, arrange some of sliced fennel into a single layer (do not overcrowd the pan). Cook the fennel until golden (about 2 minutes) then flips the slices onto their other side and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the slices from the pan and repeat the process with the remaining fennel, using the rest of the butter and oil.

Once all the fennel is cooked, add the sugar, (optional) fennel seeds, and the salt and pepper to the pan. Briefly fry for 30 seconds or so, then gently return all of the fennel slices back to the pan to caramelize. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, and transfer to a bowl. Toss the caramelized fennel with the dill and lemon zest

Heat the butter and a tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a wide and shallow dish until the butter has melted. Add the sugar, salt, and pepper to the pan and stir. Add a single layer of the fennel bulb slices and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until transparent and lightly golden around the edges, then flip and do the same with the other side. Remove the caramelized fennel bulbs from the pan and set them aside, then repeat with the remaining fennel bulb slices, making sure to always cook them in a single layer so that each slice is in contact with the pan.

Once all the fennel bulbs have been caramelized, toss them with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, fresh dill, garlic, and fennel seeds. Serve them on top of the stems and fronds and top them with the crumbled goat cheese and grated lemon zest. Arrange on a plat and dot with the goat cheese. Serve at room temperature.