Recipe: Stewed Fennel and Onions

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From The Foods of the Greek Islands (Houghton Mifflin)

Serve on its own with feta cheese and bread, or as a side dish for grilled fish or chicken.

Fagito me Maratho Makes 4 to 6 servings

    • About 3/4 cup olive oil
    • 4 cups diced stale whole wheat, sourdough, or multigrain bread
    • 2 large onions, halved and thickly sliced into half-moons
    • 4 fennel bulbs, trimmed (fronds and tender stalks reserved), halved, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
    • 1/2 cup sweet white wine, such as Samos, or any sweet Muscat
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, preferably freshly ground or crushed in a mortar
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 cup chopped fennel fronds plus tender stalks, or fresh dill

In a large nonstick skillet, heat about 1/4 cup of the oil and fry the diced bread in batches until golden on all sides, about 20 minutes, adding more oil if needed. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 cup oil and sauté the onions over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the fennel bulbs and sauté for 4 minutes more. Add the wine and simmer for 30 seconds. Add the water, fennel seeds, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the fennel is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the fennel fronds or dill for the garnish, add the remainder to the pan, and cook for 2 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Place the fried bread on a serving platter, spoon the stewed fennel over it, and sprinkle with the reserved 2 tablespoons fennel fronds or dill. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Aglaia Kremezi writes about food in Greek, European, and American magazines, publishes books about Mediterranean cooking in the U.S. and Greece, and teaches cooking classes. More

Aglaia Kremezi has changed her life and her profession many times over. She currently writes about food in Greek, European and American magazines, publishes books about Greek and Mediterranean cooking in the US and in Greece, and teaches cooking to small groups of travelers who visit Kea. Before that she was a journalist and editor, writing about everything, except politics. She has been the editor in chief and the creator of news, women's, and life-style magazines, her last disastrous venture being a "TV guide for thinking people," a contradiction in terms, at least in her country. She studied art, graphic design, and photography at the Polytechnic of Central London. For five years she taught photography to graphic designers while freelancing as a news and fashion photographer for Athenian magazines and newspapers. Editors liked her extended captions more than the pieces the journalists submitted for the events she took pictures for, so she was encouraged to do her own stories, gradually becoming a full time journalist and editor. You can visit her website at www.keartisanal.com.


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