When I was young I would laugh at the local Italian immigrants that foraged in the neighbors creeks for fennel, we thought it very strange… people digging up and eating weeds…smelly weeds they were too…no we were smarter we thought, as we tucked into grilled lamb chops and nice safe mashed potato, carrots and peas, night after night.
Now of course I am all grown up (ahem) and realize that we were missing out. Fennel is a very versatile vegetable it can be used, both raw and cooked, in side dishes, salads, pastas, risottos and as in this recipe a tart.
Some things are better not rushed… the braised fennel needs a lot of time to slowly caramalise, the reward for your patience is a scrumptious tart with a real depth of flavour.
3 Fennel Bulb
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
Pinch Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 – 3 Sprigs of Thyme, stems removed
2 sheets Frozen Puff Pastry
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a medium – high heat then add the butter to melt.
Remove fennel fronds and root end. Slice it in half and again into 1/2″ slivers.
Add the fennel and thyme to the pan and sauté until the fennel is tender.
If the fennel begins to stick, add a small amount of water to loosen them from the bottom of the pan while stirring.
Adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 200oc
cut strips out of one sheet of the puff pastry and place them on a second sheet to form squares or rectangles with the strips.
Spoon in the caramelized fennel evenly.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp, flaky and golden.