Couscous with Roasted Fennel and Toasted Almonds

January  7, 2010
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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&M —The Editors

  • Serves 4
  • 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
  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.
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