These sweet and sour fennels flavored with orange were born from a moment of improvisation. Every now and then I am assailed by the unpleasant feeling of always cooking the same things, of not being able to prepare something a little different. I think this is due to the fact that here in Shanghai I often cook in the Chinese way (the best and fresh ingredients are adapted to this type of cooking of course) and I have the impression to forget what I cooked every day in Italy. The sequence is therefore: crisis; rack of my brain; a new recipe. And these fennels have calmed me, at least for a while!

The recipe is very simple and doesn’t even need the scale: it will be your taste to guide you. My fennels were small, so a tablespoon of raisins and one of pine nuts were enough, but if yours are bigger, increase these ingredients without fear.

It’s a side dish that goes very well with both meat and fish dishes or, like I do, put them on a nice slice of rustic bread and make them disappear in this way…

Sweet and sour fennels, with orange


  • 3 fennels
  • 1 Tablespoon of pine nuts
  • 1 Tablespoon of raisins
  • 1/2 glass of white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 glass of orange juice
  • 1/2 orange zezts
  • 2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Wash the fennel well and remove the most coriaceous parts. Cut them in half and each half in three to four slices, leaving the leaves united at the base. In a large fry-pan heat the two tablespoons of oil. Add the fennel and brown them for a couple of minutes, stirring. Now add the sugar and caramelize well over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Add the orange juice and the raisins, let the liquid shrink a little, add the vinegar and cook until the latter is removed and the fennels soft but firm. Finish by adjusting in salt and pepper and adding the pine nuts. Serve hot and decorated with orange zests.


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