I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to hear whispers of spring, which is my absolute FAVORITE food season. In celebration of all things fresh and green, I give you this roasted fennel with celery, caper, and pine nut salsa! Never used celery in a salsa before? Yah, me neither. But guess what: it’s delicious! It’s bright, crunchy, tangy (thank you capers), and the perfect foil to the toasty nuttiness of the roasted fennel. If you’re iffy on fennel because of the “licorice” flavor, fear not! Any anise flavor disappears when roasting. Plant based eating at it’s best.
Serves 4 as a side
For the fennel
- 3 fennel bulbs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste (I used about ⅓ of a tablespoon diamond kosher salt)
For the salsa
- 2 ribs celery
- ¼ cup celery leaves, finely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp capers, chopped
- ⅛ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt, or more to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Chili flakes, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Remove the stems from the fennel bulbs and clean the bulbs thoroughly.
- Cut each bulb down the middle lengthwise, then again down each half another 1-2 times (depending on the size of your bulbs) to create wedges.
- Place on a baking sheet or roasting pan and coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Make sure a cut side of each piece has contact with the baking sheet as this creates browning. Do not use parchment paper or tin foil.
- Roast until browned and tender, about 40 minutes.
- While the fennel is roasting, make the salsa.
- Wash each rib of celery, then cut lengthwise 3-4 times into thin strips. Chop into a very small dice (see picture to get an idea for what you are looking for).
- Add the rest of the salsa ingredients and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
- When the fennel is done, let cool for a minute or two. Place fennel on a serving plate and top with salsa. You may have more salsa than you need, in which case you can save it for use later.
- Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and additional parsley if desired.