Making Braised Fennel in Orange Sauce

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,012
    Chef Amy Riolo discusses making braised fennel in orange sauce.

    Amy Riolo: Hi, I am Amy Riolo and I am making Sicilian Citrus Glazed Tuna Steak with braised fennel in orange sauce. In this segment, we are going to be making our braised fennel in orange sauce. So let's get started. The first thing I am going to do is take my skillet and put it over medium heat. Then I am going to add my olive oil, this is about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I am going to use that to coat the bottom of my pan. You can see when the pan starts to get these really nice ripples in it and you start to smell the scent of the olive oil, that's how you know when it's ready to add your next ingredient.

    So the very next ingredient which I am going to add is our fennel. Now these are pieces of the fennel which I have already quartered and chopped, but a lot of people are unfamiliar with fennel. So this is what a whole fennel looks like. Sometimes it's marketed in the supermarket as sweet anise, aniseed or sweet fennel. For most recipes what you need are just the bulb. This is the bulb portion. So you would chop it off right here and then cut it into quarters without using this round core. That's what we have in our pan ready to go. So now that our pan and oil are nice and hot, let's go ahead and add the fennel quarters to them. We want to make sure that your fennel is as dry as possible, just to minimize a lot of excess flatter. Fennel is actually a plant which dates back about 3000 years in the Mediterranean region. It is used as a digestive aid and it's a breath freshener, everywhere as far east as India and as far west as France. So it's a wonderful thing to have in your diet. It is actually full of essential minerals and vitamin C and phosphorous. Very, very nutrient rich, low in calories and it is also full in fiber. So they say that fennel is a dieter's friend.

    So I am just truing the fennel around making sure that they get coated in the olive oil. We are just letting them cook for a few minutes. I am going to add some of our salt and pepper to this dish. Now because the fennel is getting cooked in stock, we don't need to add too much salt, just a little bit of salt. Keep that in mind. Whenever your recipes have a lot of herbs, a lot of stock, a lot of other kinds of ingredients like cheese, you don't have to add too much salt. It's better just to add a little bit and then taste it at the end and add more if you need it. That's how to make a more healthful recipe. So we have got our freshly ground black pepper. Now the next thing that I am going to do to enhance the taste of our fennel, it's very common and very traditional to cook fresh fennel in the fennel seeds. So what fennel seeds are, are these wonderful little seeds that are literally just the seeds from the fennel plant. What I am going to do is I am going to crush them in our mortar and pestle. By crushing them, I am not only making them smaller and more palatable but I am also releasing a lot of the essential oils that are in the seeds themselves. So they will release a lot of there aroma. I can start to smell them already and they taste absolutely wonderful. They really enhance the flavor of this fennel dish that we have here. The ancient Romans used to use fennel seeds to preserve food. So what I am going to do. Now that our fennel is nice and brown, it's gotten caramelized, we have got the seeds in there and our seasoning. I am going to actually take a cup of reduced sodium chicken stock and add that in. What is going to happen is this fennel as it cooks, it is going to release more of its liquorish like anise flavor. It is going to combine with the savory flavors of the chicken stock and it is going to become very, very delicious.

    So I am adding just about enough to cover. I am also going to add our 1/2 a cup of orange juice. I am going to turn this flame up to high and let it come to a boil. This is just going to mix the flavors in together and to allow them to really incorporate. Now I am going to add our freshly chopped parsley, this is about 1 cup. As you can see, our mixture is starting to boil. So now that our mixture is boiling, I am going to turn it down to a simmer. I am going to let it simmer for about 10 minutes. When we come back, we will garnish our braised fennel in orange sauce and we will plate it up with our Sicilian Citrus Glazed Tuna Steaks.