Growing up my whole family was totally enamored with a Bon Appetit recipe for Hoisin Pork. I re-created the dish in October, calling it Hoisin Pork with Green Beans, Mushrooms and Rice Noodles. Heck yes, this stuff is TASTY. I love hoisin – basically a Chinese barbecue sauce. It’s rich, spicy, sweet and filled with savory flavors. It also happens to go perfectly with fennel, I just found out.
I made my Hoisin Glazed Roasted Fennel for an easy weeknight meal along with some brown rice with sesame oil and scallions and salmon cakes made with canned salmon, fish sauce and garlic (the poor girl’s fillets). Yum! The fennel’s liquorish flavor comes out in the roasting process and the hoisin brings out the sweetness. It also adds what I dare describe as… umami?! I feel a little out of my league using that word, but something about the combination creates flavors that are deeply savory, sweet and just a bit spicy.
The best part? You can tell your dining companions that they are having an umami sensation in their mouth! I believe Ross gave me the side eye then continued eating. Whatever.
2 bulbs of fennel
1 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. bottled hoisin sauce
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tbsp. fennel fronds
1.) Preheat the oven to 400*F. Cut the branchy portion of the fennel off, leaving the bulb. Reserve about 1 tbsp. of the fennel fronds for later. Cut the bulb in half (top down) then cut wedges about 1/4″ thick. Place the slices in a mixing bowl and toss with the canola oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes.
2.) Heat a small pan to medium. Add the sesame seeds and toast until lightly browned, a few minutes. Keep your eye on them so they don’t burn. Remove to a small bowl to cool.
3.) Once the fennel is done roasting, add it back to the mixing bowl. Toss with the hoisin sauce, half the sesame seeds and half the fennel fronds. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with the remaining sesame seeds and fronds. Serve warm, room temperate or chilled.