Fresh off the presses and out of the oven: sauteed shallots and caramelized fennel pureed with browned sweet potato, cooked again and topped with feta cheese. Ottolenghi came up with the caramelized fennel, which I made a few weeks ago and liked a lot but didn’t really think it was a stand-alone dish. I decided to throw it into some twice-baked sweet potatoes, which turned out so splendidly that I just can’t see an end to the ways this dish could be dressed up. Caramelized fennel salad with cubed roasted sweet potato and quinoa, anyone?
Caramelized Fennel Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
- 1-2 bulbs fennel, green fronds chopped off
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1.5 TBS butter
- 1 TBS sweetener of choice (I used coconut sugar)
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 sweet potatoes, washed
- Crumbled feta cheese, to taste (I used about 1/3 c)
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Halve the washed sweet potatoes, skins on. Place them cut-side up and roast until flesh is soft, about 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on them, as cooking time depends on size of potatoes and oven!
2. Chop bulb of fennel lengthwise so you have several thin pieces of fennel. Melt butter over med-high heat. Arrange fennel in single layer on hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Use tongs to flip and cook for 1-2 minutes more, so both sides are browned. Remove fennel from pan– do not clean your pan yet!
3. Sprinkle sugar and black pepper over hot pan. Add minced shallots. Place fennel back in pan, mixing with sugar and shallots, and allow it to caramelize. This should not take long- I like mine nice and brown so I left the fennel on the heat for about 90 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. When potatoes have a nice soft flesh, take them out of oven. When cool enough to handle, carefully scrape out 7/8th of flesh into a bowl or right into your food processor. Try and maintain a thin layer around the bottom and sides, as this will help maintain the shape of the skin. Set the skin aside.
5. In a food processor, puree the fennel/shallot mixture and potatoes until smooth. Add feta to taste- I used about 1/3 c. Spoon back into potato skins (if you’re really fancy use a pastry bag so it looks nicer). Put back in oven at 375 for about 10 minutes, or until slightly browned. Add more feta if you feel so inclined (you better believe I did!). Enjoy.