FENNEL SAUTÉ

Wash and dry the fennel bulb. If they are in good condition, trim off the fronds, chop, and set aside 1/2 tablespoon of the chopped fronds.

Remove all green branches from fennel bulb and save for flavoring other dishes. Either peel off any brown scuffs on the outside of the fennel, or remove the outer layer entirely if it is very discolored. Cut the fennel bulb into quarters. Remove the core. If the core is tender enough to eat raw, put it with the rest of the fennel bulb; otherwise discard. Slice fennel crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

Heat frying pan over medium heat briefly. Toss in fennel seeds and stir around until they give off an aroma, and the odd seed pops. Remove seeds from pan and set aside with the chopped fennel fronds. Add olive oil and heat. Add fennel slices, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes. If fennel is cooking too fast, turn down to low.

Stir in fennel fronds and seeds and serve.

Serves 2

Jill Santopietro, The Boston Globe, 2005

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