apr 17, 2021

Fennel Jam

So many guests come to The Civic Kitchen completely lacking experience with FENNEL.
Some folks are even fennel-averse after eating and not liking it in the past. Happily, we can attest to having an approximate 95% fennel conversion rate—it’s usually just a matter of introducing cooks to its many, widely-varied personalities:
A Few Facets of Fennel
  • There’s mellow, slightly charred fennel after it’s been tossed with shallot wedges in a little olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted at 400F to coax out its sweetness.
  • And refreshing crunchy fennel shaved thinly like a slaw; crisp in ice water, dry well, then dress with peppery olive oil and lemon juice.
  • And fennel braised to tenderness in fragrant broth as an elegant companion to simply prepared fish .
And then there is this Fennel Jam, from our friend Michael Harlan Turkell. It is tangy and sweet and a fun surprise to dollop on grilled pork or chicken or a side of salmon. We’ve slathered it on top of crostini and stuffed it along with some goat cheese into sweet/savory breakfast pastries. It is an excellent condiment to include on a cheese board. Fennel jam keeps well, so make a full batch!

Other Vegetables Articles

May 1, 2021

Carrot Hummus

Oct 17, 2020

Butternut Beauty

Oct 10, 2020

Simply Eggplant

Aug 22, 2020

Creamed Shishito Peppers (and more)

Aug 15, 2020

Ottolenghi’s Potato Tatin


Fennel Jam

Author Michael Harlan Turkell

This jam is adapted from Michael Harlan Turkell's Acid Trip, his scholarly (but not too serious), deep dive book on vinegar. He serves it with a dollop of creamy fresh ricotta on crisp crostini, one of the best appetizers we can think of. We once served those at a fundraiser, and 400 pieces were devoured by enthusiastic guests in about 20 minutes flat! Spoon this alongside grilled pork or chicken like a chutney, or use it to fill a sweet/savory breakfast pastry. Don't even think about omitting the vinegar; it adds needed complexity to keep the jam from becoming cloying.

Adapted from: Michael Harlan Turkell's Acid Trip
Yield   3 cups, enough to top 60 crostini or fill 2 fancy breakfast pastry loaves, each serving 10-12


2½ lbs fennel bulbs (about 4 large)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 packed cup brown sugar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup golden raisins


Trim the stalks from the fennel, reserving some of the feathery fronds for garnish if you plan to serve some of the jam right away. Trim any discolored bits from the bases, then halve the bulbs through the core. Remove the core only if it is very tough—otherwise, it's delicious—and cut the fennel lengthwise into ⅛-inch slices. For a finer-textured jam, dice the bulbs.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat. Add the fennel and salt and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered. Stir from time to time. It’s okay if it browns a bit, but don’t let it burn. The fennel should all be softened and translucent by now, with no white crunchy bits.
Stir in the fennel seeds and brown sugar. Cook until the sugar has liquified and the fennel is soft but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and raisins and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until there’s little to no liquid left and the sparse liquid looks syrupy. It should take about 30 minutes.
Cool to room temp before storing airtight in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for up to 6 months.