Caramelized Fennel Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

18 Jun

sweetpotatoesIt is a well-documented fact that I worship at the altar of Ottolenghi. Today, the student becomes the teacher: I have actually IMPROVED a recipe published in Plenty. Well I’ll be ding-donged.

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.


4 Responses to “Caramelized Fennel Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes”


  1. London, Actually, Is All Around | Cooking Up Kefi - February 19, 2014

    […] Yotam will get an entire post devoted to him (but check out this, this, this, and this to recall why I love him […]

  2. The Best of Cooking Up Kefi | Cooking Up Kefi - July 23, 2014

    […] majorly crushing on Ottolenghi, I ate with him! (Okay, “with” him is an […]

  3. 2014 Cooking Up Kefi Gift Guide | Cooking Up Kefi - December 11, 2014

    […] (and yummiest) salad ever, a revolution in grape leaves and pies, or the post where I realized that fennel could be caramelized. Then go buy the new book and hop on a flight to London to eat in his […]

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