This side dish is a mix of sweet, bitter, crunchy and candied. The licorice-like flavors of the fennel combined with the tart, slightly bitter lemon make for a nice contrast in flavors and textures. This unique dish is great paired with seafood.
- 1⁄2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 2 fennel bulbs, stalks discarded, bulb cut lengthwise through the core into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 1⁄2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds, seeds discarded
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
In a large skillet, combine ½ cup of the sugar and the water and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the fennel and fennel seeds, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, or until tender. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet or a sheet of wax paper to catch any drips. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over the slices.
Set up 3 shallow bowls. Place the flour in one, the egg mixture in another, and the panko in the third. Dip the lemon slices in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the lemon slices and cook for 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown and tender. Sprinkle with the salt and serve the fennel and lemon slices hot.
As featured in the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.