Braised Baby Fennel (Petits Fenouils Braisés)
- 12 to 16 baby fennel bulbs
- 5 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion or 4 shallots,
cut into thin rings
- 1 long, slender carrot, peeled and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 1 scant tsp. tomato paste
- 5 Tbs. water
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Chopped fresh chervil or flat-leaf parsley
In a large, wide saucepan or deep fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and carrot and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the fennel bulbs, stir to coat with the oil, then add the garlic and bell pepper. Toss the vegetables, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, salt and pepper. Stir well, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the fennel bulbs are tender when pierced with a knife, 12 to 15 minutes. If the saucepan is deep, it is wise to butter a piece of parchment paper the diameter of the pan and place it, buttered side down, over the vegetables to keep the steam in and lessen the chance of scorching.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the chervil. Serve immediately.