august has so quickly revealed herself to us, as this past month has been chaos in the grandest of manners. a dive to the deepest corners, only to resurface and be greeted by the plush womb of late summer. it’s often hard to pick a favorite season – each so unforgivably ripe with unique details, simplicities, and sophistications. early spring is to late summer, as even the crops that greet us under several feet of snow are. romance is high and available with each nuance. thank you for accompanying me in my heady love story.
the tomatoes have started to arrive, and each day is delighted by what is ripe or what will soon be. an ocean of green fruit and small yellow flowers are patiently giving themselves up to the sultry fever and heart of tomato season. i could die happy here every year. there are a wealth of incredible ideas on how to consummate your flame with ripe tomatoes, and to this i would like to share a favorite one. a dish of deeply flavored roasted fennel, punctuated with burst tomatoes and herbs, combined with starchy white beans. something serious is at play when this combination is indulged, something quite welcome on a summer table.
- 2 tbl olive oil + ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 sprig of rosemary, 6-8 inches
- 2 fennel bulbs, fronds removed but reserved to a ¼ cup
- 2 pints of cherry tomatoes
- ⅓ cup fresh oregano
- 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- juice of ½ a lemon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet until shimmering. Add rosemary and fry until crisped on the sprig, 30 seconds to a minute. Set aside on a paper-towel lined plate and add remaining olive oil to the pan. Set pan aside.
- Slice fennel bulbs in half, and again into medium thick slices. Return skillet to heat and gradually warm olive oil to hot, but not smoking. Add sliced fennel bulb, sprinkle with a dash of salt, and slow cook until beginning to brown - 7-10 minutes.
- Cut any larger tomatoes in half, otherwise keep intact. Add tomatoes, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Gently combine ingredients to mix together.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake about 15 minutes, just until softened and tomatoes have burst. Add white beans and reserved fennel fronds, mix, and continue to cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove, cool slightly, and crumble fried rosemary on top to serve. Finish with lemon juice.
recipe adapted from here