Are you ready for a flavour bomb? Because this ‘little’ dinner is dressed to impress.
I must say, without trying to be modest, that I am PROUD I had the idea for this meal. Not sure how it happened or what lucky star I unintentionally wished upon, but fennel + caramelised onion + olives + almonds + quinoa is all I want now. The incredibly aromatic liquorice taste of the fennel. Its juiciness after roasting in the oven… My mouth is watering as I type. And that quinoa salad! Coated in the sweetness of the caramelised onions. With a slight salty bitterness from the olives and gorgeous, meaty sun dried tomatoes. With wonderful crunch from the almonds. This salad is ah-mazing on its own. Or with the fennel. Or with anything and everything.
Because I used quite a lot of caramelised onions (I LOVE them!), I didn’t feel the need to make a dressing as well. But a little bit of apple cider vinegar might be yum.
- 1 big onion, halved and cut into medium thick slices
- 3-4 TBSP olive oil for cooking
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 2 TBSP currants
- 1 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa, but any will do)
- 2 cups water
- handful of almonds
- 1 green onion, finely sliced
- 5 sun dried tomatoes (previously marinated in olive oil), finely chopped
- 10 olives, pitted and chopped
Ingredients for the FENNEL
- 1 big fennel, cut into thick slices and fronds removed and reserved
- olive oil for cooking
- sea salt flakes
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190-200C.
- Arrange fennel slices in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle sea salt and black pepper.
- Add the onion slices and olive oil in a small pot and cook on the stove top, with the lid on, on low heat. Make sure to check it every 4-5 mins and give it a stir, to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Takes roughly 25 mins to cook.
- While onion is cooking, rinse your quinoa and add to a pot with 2 cups water. Cook on the stove pot, over medium low heat, with the lid on, until it absorbs all the water and is plump and fluffy. Takes roughly 20 mins to cook.
- Oven should be ready and warm by now. Put the fennel in the oven and put a timer for 20 minutes.
- Check the status of the onions (stir if needed) and quinoa.
- While everything is cooking, add almonds to a small pot on low heat and dry toast them for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove almonds from heat, allow them to cool and roughly chop them. Set aside.
- In the last 10 minutes of cooking the onion, add the balsamic vinegar and currants. Stir, cover and continue to cook.
- While everything is in the last stages of cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients for the salad: finely slice the green onion, chop the tomatoes and olives.
- To assemble everything: mix the ingredients for the salad, top with the reserved fennel fronds and serve with hot roasted fennel. Ah-mazing!