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Roasted Carrots and Fennel

This is a memorable dish, beautifully accented by the colorful hue of the carrots and elevated by the anise essence of the fennel. A quick flambé burns off the alcohol in the Pernod and concentrates the flavor. Once you learn the trick, strike the match at the table for an impressive presentation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 medium fennel bulbs
  • 1/2 lb. multicolored baby carrots
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 or 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Pernod

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Cut the stalks and feathery leaves from the fennel bulb; discard or reserve for another use. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise, then cut each half into wedges about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the carrots in half crosswise if they are long. Place the carrots and fennel in a baking dish or a cast-iron fry pan just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil, add the thyme, sprinkle with the salt and turn to coat evenly. Spread the vegetables out in a single layer.

Roast until the fennel has caramelized lightly and the carrots have begun to wrinkle slightly, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the Pernod and carefully light with a long match. Shake the pan slightly until the flames go out and serve the vegetables immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Vegetable of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012).