Fennel can be a challenging ingredient to cook with. Even though my mother was a good home cook, she never once served us fennel. The first time I tried fennel bulb was in college when my Swiss roommate made a delicious dinner of stewed fennel in tomato sauce. Later, I attempted to recreate the dish, only to end up with undercooked crunchy fennel in a watery tomato sauce. I threw it out and began to overlook the feathery vegetable at the grocery store.
But then last week I was at my farmers market and my eye caught some tiny baby fennel bulbs. And the farmer, not missing a beat, talked me into getting them along with the squash I had already picked out.
Charring the fennel in the skillet is easy and hands off. The anise-y flavor plays well with the burnt bits, and the sweetness from the squash makes you grab for seconds. There is a lot going on in this dish, but yet it still works and is easy to throw together. Keeps well for leftovers too.
Fennel, Squash and Sausage Roast
- 1 Delicata Squash
- 1 Kabocha Squash (I used an orange one, but green work too)
- 1 Red Onion, Small
- 3 + 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Fennel Bulb
- 1 lb Mild Italian Sausages
- 1 Springs Fresh Sage (about 3 Tbsp chopped)
- Lemon Wedges, for serviing.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and position one rack in the middle, the other closer to the top.
- Wash the squashes well under running water.
- Cut the delicata squash lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and squishies. Slice the delicata squash into half inch slices.
- Carefully cut into half of the kabocha squash, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and squishies. Slice the kabocha squash into half inch slices, tossing out the end slices.
- Chop the red onion in half, and then cut into 1/2 inch chunks.
- In a large bowl, toss the squash, onion, 3 Tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper together. Dump out onto a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment. You might need to use two baking sheets to get everything in one layer, depending on the sizes of squash that you used.
- Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, rotate the pans and cook for another 10 minutes. Check for doneness by poking with a fork, you want to have a bit of a bite, not mushy. Remove from the oven and add to a platter.
- While the squash is cooking, begin prepping the fennel by chopping off the fronds, save for garnishing later. Wash the fennel well under running water and slice into quarter inch slices.
- Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a medium-sized skillet that is on medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the sliced fennel with a pinch of sea salt and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes or until charred on one side. Remove from the skillet and place on the platter.
- Add the sausages to the skillet, and cook until done approximately 7-12 minutes. Add to the platter when done.
- Garnish the platter with the squash, fennel and sausages with the chopped sage and fennel fronds. Serve with a bit of freshly ground pepper, and lemon wedges.