Here are a few substitutions that I've made:
- The original recipe called for raisins, but I didn't have any, and used dried cherries instead.
- Omitted 2 tsp whole coriander seeds
- Reduced the garlic from 10 cloves to 4 (I was actually wondering if 10 was a typo)
This fennel dish can be served hot or cold, as the first course or as a side dish for fish and poultry. I'd even eat it for dessert, but my idea of dessert is a little strange (I have once ordered gravlax for dessert). Here is my adaptation of Raquel Carena's recipe.
Sautéed Fennel with Almonds and Cherries
2 medium fennel bulbs (if possible with fronds)
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dried cherries
pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
1/4 cup whole almonds, toasted, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut off the fennel stalks, take off and reserve the fronds (the leaves that look like dill), then discard the stalks. Cut the fennel bulbs in half. Cut out and discard the tough cores. Slice the bulbs lengthwise 1/4 inch thick. Chop the fronds and reserve separately.
- Zest the orange and squeeze 1/4 cup juice out of it (that's about half the orange). In a small bowl, combine orange zest, juice, saffron threads, cherries, and almonds.
- Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add fennel, garlic, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, stirring often, until crisp tender, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the orange juice mixture from step 2. Cook, stirring often, until orange juice starts to get syrupy, 1-2 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper. Taste and correct seasoning.
- This dish can be served immediately or chilled and then brought to room temperature. Stir in the fennel fronds and cilantro right before serving.