Couscous with Roasted Fennel and Toasted Almonds

By • January 7, 2010 • 44 Comments



Author Notes: I love the mellow taste of roasted fennel and almonds together, and think the orange-soaked raisins add a nice bit of sparkle to this otherwise rich side dish which I like to serve with roasted chicken. Using a vegetable stock, or water, for the couscous does lighten it up a bit.Jennifer Ann

Food52 Review: This is a dish whose simplicity belies its depth of flavor. Its success is dependent on little touches like plumping the raisins in fresh orange juice, incorporating chopped fennel fronds as well as roasted wedges of the bulb itself, and using lots of chopped shallot to add sweetness and bite to a basic sherry vinaigrette. Jennifer Ann has you fold all of the ingredients except for the roasted fennel and toasted almonds into the delicate, springy couscous, and then arrange the fennel and almonds over the top for a lovely presentation. - A&MA&M

Serves 4

  • juice from one orange, about 1/2 cup
  • 1/3 cup black raisins
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cored and cut into about 16 slim wedges
  • 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 large shallot (or two small), minced
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoon fennel fronds, chopped
  • freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch coarse sea salt, such as Maldon
  1. Soak raisins in orange juice until they plump up, about 1 - 2 hours; strain, and set aside
  2. Toss fennel wedges in one tablespoon of olive oil, pepper and salt; spread on a lined baking sheet and roast in a 350 oven for about 12-15 minutes, until edges are beginning to brown, and the fennel wedges are softening - but still have a little bite
  3. Toast almonds on a separate pan in the oven until lightly browned; allow to cool; coarsely chop, and set aside
  4. While fennel and almonds are in the oven, bring chicken stock to a boil over high heat; add couscous, stir, cover, and remove from heat; let rest for about 15 minutes until all of the stock is absorbed
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together shallots and vinegar, then whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil; add pepper and salt to taste
  6. transfer couscous to a serving bowl and fluff with fork; stir in the orange-soaked raisins, and fennel fronds; toss with enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat everything - be sure to include all of the shallot bits
  7. top with roasted fennel and almonds; finish with a sprinkling of ground pepper and coarse sea salt
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Tags: savory, Side Dishes

Comments (44) Questions (1)

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12 months ago bia

Made with brown basmati rice and topped with grated parmesan - delicious! Thanks so much.

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about 1 year ago Reeshiez

This is the first time I tried a recipe on food52 and it was delicious. Unfortunately I didn't have all the ingredients at hand so I substituted the couscous for quinoa, soaked the raisins in lemon juice instead of water and substituted lemon juice for the vinegar. Loved it! I can't wait to try this again - next time, exactly as written

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over 1 year ago tucenaohala

Just made today and it was sublime!
Thanks for sharing!

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almost 2 years ago Cannelloni&Cayenne

To be perfectly honest, I felt so indulgent after making this dish - who knew couscous could be so impressive! I love fennel - it has such a unique flavor profile, and I am always on the lookout for different ways to incorporate it into my cooking. Though I omitted the raisins and the almonds, and sub'd veggie stock for the chicken stock, this was the simplest, most delicious meal I have made this summer!

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over 2 years ago AnnieHynes

This was so amazing! Thanks for sharing. Going to be a regular thing at my house!

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over 2 years ago Jessica MacKay

I'll be trying this as a vegetarian main dish as soon as I can pick up some fennel at the Farmers Market! It looks delicious!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

I made this tonight, subbing quinoa for couscous (my husband is gluten intolerant) and it was delicious! Thank you for a lovely recipe. I love fennel and all of your additions are perfect.

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over 3 years ago Clover88

Wonderful flavors, definitely a keeper in the dinner rotation!

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about 3 years ago Jennifer Ann

Thank you, Clover88 - so glad you liked it!

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about 4 years ago Sagegreen

I love the flavors you are combining here! Thanks for this.

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about 4 years ago Jennifer Ann

Thank you, Sagegreen!

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about 4 years ago Midge

I just now stumbled upon this recipe. Sounds so delicious! Will definitely give it a try.

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about 4 years ago Jennifer Ann

Thanks Midge! I hope you find a chance to try it.

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almost 4 years ago Midge

I made this last night, with grilled lamp chops, and it was insanely delicious. What a brilliant combination you dreamt up!

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over 3 years ago Jennifer Ann

Midge, so happy you enjoyed it!

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over 4 years ago ADRIENE

this looks fantastic!

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over 4 years ago Jennifer Ann

Thank you all for the encouraging comments! The wildcard pick was such a wonderful surprise!

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over 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

I've been struggling to find dinnertime inspiration, but I just so happen to have a fennel bulb in the fridge - this is on the menu soon! Thanks for the recipe, and congrats on your Wildcard win!

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over 4 years ago Jennifer Ann

Thanks LND ~ If you do have a chance to try the recipe, I hope you enjoy it :)

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Congrats, Jennifer Ann! Beautiful recipe.

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over 4 years ago Lizthechef

Congratualtions for a beautiful recipe!

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over 4 years ago shayma

LOVELY! jennifer ann, so happy for you! x

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over 4 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

I like this a whol lot. I mess around with fennel, white grapefruit (pompelmo in Italian) with things like pistachios or pomegranate seeds. Winning combination.

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over 4 years ago alovess

This is a wonderful recipe. The flavour, texture and presentation are delicious! I will definitely add this to the weekly roster of dishes. Many thanks :)

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over 4 years ago Jennifer Ann

Thank you! I hope you enjoy it :)

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over 4 years ago 1devo

i have started making this on practically a bi-weekly basis. easy, and so delish!

best way to eat the next day:
cold, with a fried egg or two on top!

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over 4 years ago Jennifer Ann

Thanks for the note. I'm so glad you like the recipe!

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over 4 years ago lacerise

Looks like this is Israeli couscous. Is that right?

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over 4 years ago Jennifer Ann

The couscous in the lovely photo by Melanie do look a bit like a smaller version of the Israeli type - in my recipe, I just used the basic wheat variety.

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over 4 years ago spinthebottleny

Just created a hybrid between this recipe and a Marcella Hazan recipe for fish with caramelized fennel. Total winner! Great job -- this is a lovely combination of flavors.

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over 4 years ago Jennifer Ann

Thank you! I am really glad you liked it.