Roasted Fennel with Orange & Crushed Red Pepper Fales

Note: This recipe is from Gjelina’s cookbook. It’s absolutely fabulous, and you should buy it.

2 fennel bulbs
2 blood oranges
1/4 cup olive oil
Flaky sea salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup white wine (if doing Paleo, substitute chicken stock)
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Ground black pepper
Pinch of fennel pollen

Cut the fennel bulb into wedges. Cut the stems into thin slices, reserving the fronds (green leafy part). Set aside.

Section one of the oranges by cutting off both ends. Set it on one end, and use a paring knife to cut away the peel and the pith in strips, starting at the top and following the curves to the bottom. Then, holding the orange in one hand, carefully insert the blade of the knife between the flesh and the membrane to cut out the sections without any membrane attached. The sections should come out easily. Repeat with the remaining orange, and set aside.

I absolutely love this video from Chef John Higgins. It has great instruction on how to cut a grapefruit (orange in this case).

In a large frying pan over high heat, warm the oil. Add the fennel wedges, using tongs to place the cut sides against the pan bottom to get a good sear. Cook until the fennel is caramelized, about 3 minutes. Flip, lower heat to medium-high and cook on the other side until caramelized, another 3 minutes. Season with salt, toss in the fennel stems and continue to cook until the stems are well browned, another 2 minutes. Add the orange juice, wine and stock and let reduce until the sauce is thickened and the fennel is deeply seared and starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and season with lots of salt and pepper.

Pour onto a serving platter, garnish with fennel fronds and orange segments. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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