The licorice-y flavor of fennel and the zing of lime brighten up the dark days of winter in this dish...
inspired by a recipe from designer and cook Athena Calderone. If you’re like me and have cooked beans in the refrigerator, it comes together quickly.
What You'll Need
For the shopping list
- 1 bulb fresh fennel, chopped
- 1 leek, light green and white parts, split lengthwise, cleaned, and sliced
- Juice and zest from 1 lime
- 1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley, chopped
From the kitchen
- 1 Skillet or Sheet Pan
- 1 Microplane Grater
- 1 Chef's Knife
- 1 Cutting Board
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
For a vegetable most people ignore, fennel’s got a storied history.
The favorite race of long distance runners gets its name from the Greek word for fennel, marathon, and Prometheus used the plant’s hollow stalk to steal fire from the gods. Fennel is one of the nine herbs in an old Anglo-Saxon pagan charm for healing, and, in Italian, finocchio is a homophobic insult. Urban botanists regard wild fennel as an invasive weed, while gardeners plant the dusky bronze cultivar for the lacy display of fronds.
The vegetable in the produce department is Florence fennel, a cultivar bred by the vegetable-loving Italians to produce the fat leaf bases that form the part we eat. This so-called “bulb” usually comes with a few inches of hollow stem attached, often with some of the frilly fronds, too. Neither have much flavor, but the fronds add bright color so save them to add just before serving if you want.
What you'll have to do
Preheat oven to 400F.
Toss the fennel and leek with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of chili. Roast in a skillet or sheet pan until brown, about 20 minutes.
Stir the white beans into the fennel and return to the oven for 10 minutes to warm through.
Stir lime juice and parsley into bean-fennel mix, taste for salt and add more if needed. Transfer to serving dish, top with lime zest, drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Best warm or at room temperature.