Couscous with Roasted Fennel and Toasted Almonds

January 7, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

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&MThe Editors

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup just-squeezed orange juice
  • 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 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 large shallot (or two small), minced
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fennel fronds, chopped
  • 2 pinches salt and freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch coarse sea salt, such as Maldon
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Soak raisins in orange juice until they plump up, about 1 to 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° F oven for about 12 to 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—and 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.

More Great Recipes:
Moroccan|Almond|Couscous|Fennel|Grains|Raisin|Shallot|Vinegar|Orange Juice|Spring|Side

Reviews (47) Questions (2)

47 Reviews

Madeleine March 22, 2017
Great flavour combination! Thank you for this recipe :). I found I had to cook the fennel for much longer than suggested (roughly 25 minutes), but maybe that's more a matter of personal taste.
 
salena June 20, 2016
So sorry I missed this recipe until now. Fennel just came into the farmers' market this week and this way to use it. Reminded me of Sicily: the Arab influence of couscous mixed with the fennel, citrus, raisins, and olive oil that grows there. I liked the almonds but the Sicilians would probably used pignola nuts. Wonderful recipe that can be served at room temperature all summer long. Better late than never.
 
Ami April 12, 2015
I swapped the couscous for red quinoa and turned this recipe vegan by cooking the quinoa in the orange juice drained off the raisins. Great flavors!
 
bia July 25, 2013
Made with brown basmati rice and topped with grated parmesan - delicious! Thanks so much.
 
Reeshiez May 15, 2013
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
 
tucenaohala March 17, 2013
Just made today and it was sublime! <br />Thanks for sharing!
 
Cannelloni&Cayenne July 28, 2012
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!
 
AnnieHynes March 24, 2012
This was so amazing! Thanks for sharing. Going to be a regular thing at my house!
 
Jessica M. March 24, 2012
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!
 
gingerroot April 15, 2011
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.
 
Clover88 March 17, 2011
Wonderful flavors, definitely a keeper in the dinner rotation!
 
Author Comment
Jennifer A. April 16, 2011
Thank you, Clover88 - so glad you liked it!
 
Sagegreen June 23, 2010
I love the flavors you are combining here! Thanks for this.
 
Author Comment
Jennifer A. July 11, 2010
Thank you, Sagegreen!
 
Midge June 13, 2010
I just now stumbled upon this recipe. Sounds so delicious! Will definitely give it a try.
 
Author Comment
Jennifer A. June 15, 2010
Thanks Midge! I hope you find a chance to try it.
 
Midge October 10, 2010
I made this last night, with grilled lamp chops, and it was insanely delicious. What a brilliant combination you dreamt up!
 
Author Comment
Jennifer A. October 25, 2010
Midge, so happy you enjoyed it!
 
ADRIENE March 28, 2010
this looks fantastic!
 
Author Comment
Jennifer A. March 24, 2010
Thank you all for the encouraging comments! The wildcard pick was such a wonderful surprise!
 
lastnightsdinner March 24, 2010
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!
 
Author Comment
Jennifer A. March 28, 2010
Thanks LND ~ If you do have a chance to try the recipe, I hope you enjoy it :)
 
mrslarkin March 24, 2010
Congrats, Jennifer Ann! Beautiful recipe.
 
Lizthechef March 24, 2010
Congratualtions for a beautiful recipe!
 
shayma March 24, 2010
LOVELY! jennifer ann, so happy for you! x
 
pierino March 24, 2010
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.
 
alovess February 24, 2010
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 :)
 
Author Comment
Jennifer A. February 27, 2010
Thank you! I hope you enjoy it :)