Fennel and onion marmalade is a luscious condiment that will raise your next pork roast to another level. This is not a breakfast marmalade destined for toast, but a sexy, savory marmalade meant to accompany grilled salmon, or to slather on a rustic sandwich of roasted red peppers, salumi, provolone and arugula. It is also a unique accompaniment to a cheese and charcuterie plate. Fennel and onion marmalade is quick and simple to make on the stove top, a perfect candidate for your first jam. Just don’t expect it to last longer than an evening or two—it’s too good. But there is more to fennel than making marmalade…
Foeniculum vulgare, or fennel, is related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. The gorgeous bulbs that swell from the base of the plant are sweet and crunchy. The entire plant–bulb, stems and fronds–is edible, as are the seeds. Fennel tastes of anise or licorice, and it is super-healthy for you. The feathery fronds add lacy texture to the garden, and it is an important larval food for the eastern swallowtail butterfly. In fact, I plant extra bronze fennel (which is not edible) just for the butterflies! Fennel is easy to grow from seed—just make sure it has good soil and drainage, but it doesn’t play well with many other vegetables in the garden, meaning it may impede the growth of other plants, so make sure to plant it away from your other garden edibles. But it is so gorgeous and delicious, I highly recommend you find a spot to plant some.
Fennel is traditionally used a great deal in Mediterranean cuisine—think of the lovely fennel seeds in Italian sausage. Shave or finely slice the bulbs crossways and add the shavings to a salad of baby lettuces and orange. Or just give in and make this fennel and onion marmalade, baby!
Fennel and Onion Marmalade
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 large fennel, thinly sliced, fronds reserved for garnish
1 cup Demerara sugar
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a cast iron skillet, heat olive over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add fennel and cook another 2 minutes. Add sugar and vinegar. Cook for 20 minutes or until marmalade thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with fennel fronds.