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Sides, Vegetarian

Marinated fennel in olive oil and herbs

There's a lot more to the Passover holiday than just the Seder dinner. For most Israelis, preparations for the Festival of Freedom started at least a month ago. Passover celebrates the ancient Israelites' liberation from slavery in Egypt. Beginning at ... Read more

Total time: 20 minutes plus 3 hours standing | Makes 1 quart
  • 1 large or 2 small whole fennel bulbs with stalks
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 lemons, washed and sliced crosswise (unpeeled)
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2/3 cup vinegar, optional
  • Dash of sugar dissolved in 1 teaspoon water, optional
  • Salt
  • Coarsely ground pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to cover

Step 1Cut off the fennel stalks and slice the bulbs widthwise into thin strips. Mix the stalks and slices in a bowl with the onion, garlic, lemon and thyme. Mix in the vinegar and sugar-water, if desired.

Step 2Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a 1-quart jar, and cover with olive oil. Make sure that the olive oil covers the fennel. (Use the bottom of a bowl or other weight to press the vegetables down under the olive oil.) Wait several hours before serving. Store in a closed jar in the refrigerator. More fennel may be added to the same marinade throughout the week.

Note: Everyone knows matzos are hard to digest. The key to getting through the holiday is keeping it simple-eating more basic foods and fresh vegetables and fruit-and not a lot of it. These fennel "pickles" make a deliciously different condiment on the Passover table, and a nice accompaniment to hot and cold dishes and salads. They're even a fiber-rich snack throughout the week, and perfect for pasta throughout the year.
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