Cheese is something I adore and eat on most days. I miss fancy restaurants with a cheese cart that comes rolling up to your table, and a server well informed on all the varieties of cheese from across the globe. I enjoy most any type of cheese from the super stinky, to the harder cheeses with a crystallized bite. The accoutrements like compotes, candied nuts and infused honey paired with a good cheese plate can really make it pop, and take your cheese experience into a new realm.
Fennel is one of those vegetables that people either love, or take a pass. When it’s raw, it’s mild black licorice flavor can sometimes be too intense or some, but not me – I enjoy it sliced in salads, or with a creamy dip or spread. However, when fennel is cooked, it becomes sweet and fruity, the licorice taste almost disappears, I think of it more as a sweet celery.
Fennel cooks up in minutes on the stove top, and absorbs a honey-lemon syrup easily. The warm compote when cooled, becomes a sweet and savory spread that glazes creamy goat cheese on top of a crisp cracker magically. The flavors are very Italian in nature, and pair beautifully next to any cheese. This fennel compote stores in the refrigerator for up to a week, but you might not be able to wait that long like me, I prefer to serve it immediately aside a fresh hunk of cheese.
1 fennel bulb, halved, cored and sliced very thinly
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 dates, pitted and sliced
fennel fronds for garnish
salt & pepper
- In a small saucepan, add fennel, 1/2 cup water and honey. Place over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove fennel from water and place in a small serving bowl, set aside. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper to hot liquid. Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly reduced.
- Pour hot liquid over fennel in bowl. After 10 minutes, stir in dates and serve with cheese, or place in refrigerator for a later date. Enjoy!