Archive for October 1st, 2012

Fennel (sometimes called anise) is a beautiful vegetable – a broad, white-green bulb that tapers into long, slim, celerylike stems topped with dark green, feathery fronds. The bulb is the only part that is cooked, but you can use the fronds as you would any other delicate herb such as dill. A fennel bulb is structured like a squat head of celery. For this recipe, it is sliced lengthwise into thick planks, leaving the white, pulpy end intact so that the ribs stay together. Because fennel is quite crisp, it needs to be basted with liquid as it browns to help it become tender. In this recipe, a fruity Riesling permeates the fennel’s fibers as it cooks, marrying beautifully with the vegetable’s natural licoricelike flavor.

Prep: 5 minutes
Grill: About 20 minutes.

– Long-handled spatula or tongs.

Indirect heat, medium (325° to 350°F)
3- or 4-burner grill-middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill–1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
20 replacement coals
Heavy-duty drip pan set between banks of charcoal
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting
Indirect heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 4 inches above the fire.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bulbs fennel, stems and leaves trimmed, cut lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices (see recipe introduction)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for coating grill grate
¾ cup Riesling wine
4 sprigs rosemary, tied together at the stick end into a basting brush.

1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Mix the olive oil and garlic in a small bowl, and coat the fennel slices with this mixture. Season with the salt and pepper.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the fennel on the grill away from the heat, cover the grill, and cook until browned and tender, about 20 minutes, turning and basting with some of the Riesling, using the rosemary basting brush, about every 5 minutes. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 375°F.
4. Place on a serving platter or individual plates and serve.

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