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Fennel a la Grecque

23 July

Fennel perfumed with lemon and cooked long and slow is a great thing to have on hand in the refrigerator. Make a batch on the weekend, so you can have it ready during the week.

3 large fennel bulbs
1 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
1/2 cup fruity olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (a Meyer, if you have one)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut off the stems of the fennel, and reserve some of the fronds for serving. Slice off the bottom of the bulbs about 1/2-inch thick. Some of the slices will fall apart; this isn’t a problem. Spread the fennel out in a very large, deep skillet, in as close to one layer as possible.
2. Pour in the vermouth and oil, add the lemon zest and juice, and season with fennel seeds, add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer the fennel for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, giving a gentle stir once in a while. It should be melting when done. Serve this at room temperature.

Serves 4-6