There’s a reason visitors to northern California are inevitably reminded of Italy or France: They not only share world-class winemaking, but they also share many similar culinary ingredients. In the summer, the air in northern California is alive with wild rosemary, laurel, and—the hero in this recipe-fresh fennel. Slow-roasting fennel caramelizes its natural sugars and softens what in a raw state is a very crisp texture to a texture something like that of a rich roasted onion. Serve it with lamb, chicken, and pork.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Discard the fennel stalks, reserving the fronds for garnish. Halve the bulbs lengthwise and rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place cut side down in a roasting pan and roast until soft and caramelized, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
To make the olive tapenade combine the green olives, garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, tarragon, capers, vinegar, and
To serve, arrange the roasted fennel on a big platter. Drizzle with the tapenade, then sprinkle the feta cheese, mint leaves, and fennel fronds over all.
© 2010 All rights reserved. Published by Rodale Books.