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Braised Peas & Fennel

This dish from cookbook Istria by Paola Bacchia marries peas with fennel to make a lovely sweet braise. Add a few handfuls of fresh herbs to the vegetables just before serving, and lemon zest for a lovely citrus balance. Enjoy as a side dish to grilled meats, or it can easily become the base of a risotto or a pasta sauce.

Braised Peas & Fennel

 

Serves 6 as a side dish

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1 small fennel bulb, about 400 g (14 oz)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable stock
  • 350 g (21/3 cups) baby peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 handful of fresh herbs, such as parsley and/or dill, chopped, to serve
  • Lemon zest, to taste

 

Method:

  1. Slice the onion into fairly thin wedges. Cut the fennel bulb into quarters, and each of the quarters into four or five wedges.
  2. Place the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium–low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook for about 8 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally so it does not stick or brown.
  3. Increase the heat and add the fennel and wine. Once most of the wine has evaporated, add the stock. When the stock comes to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the fennel is tender. It should be cooked through, but still have some resistance.
  4. Add the peas and continue to simmer, uncovered, over medium–low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the peas are cooked to your liking. Season with salt and pepper to taste. There should not be much liquid left in the pan, but if there is, increase the heat for a few minutes until it evaporates.
  5. Serve scattered with the fresh herbs and lemon zest.

 

Smart Tip:

Usually I cook peas in the pan for no more than 10 minutes, as I love their slightly firm texture.

 

This recipe is extracted from Istria by Paola Bacchia. Published by Smith Street Books. RRP AUD $55.00 / RRP NZD $65.00.

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