I've been using my time off the water to prepare some accompaniments that I'll use with this season's catch. The Preserved Lemons I put up a few weeks ago are coming along nicely. They should be ready pretty soon. If you haven't checked out that recipe yet, I suggest giving it a try. It's easy and will pay dividends later in the season.
The next one is a condiment that I've made a number of times before. I like it as a topping for salmon or tuna. I chop it up and mix it with mayo and lemon juice as a dipping sauce for fish & chips, or I sometimes just mix it straight into my crab cakes. It's also really good with pork, lamb, and poultry, but that's a story for another blog.
Usually I make it and use it right away, but this time I'm going to can it, so I'll have it in the cupboard ready to go when I have some fresh catch in my cooler.
Fennel has a mild, licorice-y flavor. The key work there is mild. I personally don't like licorice, and I especially dislike licorice flavored liquors like Sambuca and Ouzo. However I really like fennel. Plus when it is prepared like it is in the recipe below, that flavor smooths out yet more, and you are left with a slightly sweet, lightly sharp relish with a very nice, aromatic background flavor. What I'm saying is, don't fear the fennel, even if you're not a licorice person.
I'll give you a rundown of the ingredients and procedure here. However if you want a better look at how it's supposed to look, check out the recipe video HERE.
1/4 cup Olive Oil 3 bulbs of Fennel, sliced 1 medium Onion, sliced 1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, divided Juice of one lemon 4 cloves of Garlic, sliced 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar 1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper 1 Apple, peeled and diced 1/2 cup Orange Juice, freshly squeezed is best
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or sauce pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, and salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
cover with a lid, and let it cook for 5 minutes.
Add in 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and lemon juice. Return the lid and give it 5 more minutes.
Add the garlic, vinegar, and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover again, and cook for 20 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure it doesn't cook dry. Add a little water if needed.
Add the apple, orange juice, and the other 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Cover and cook for a final 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.
If you're canning it, sterilize your mason jars in boiling water. Fill the jars with the still warm relish. Close the lids snugly and boil the jars for 20 minutes to seal.