- ¼ cup California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 fennel bulbs, stems and leaves trimmed and bulbs sliced lengthwise ½ inch thick
- 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. flour
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¾ cup vegetable or chicken broth
- ½ cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 can (about 15 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Heat half the California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the fennel slices in the oil on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, and transfer to a plate.
Add the onion to the skillet and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper, and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in the flour until the onions are coated. Add the wine and heat to boiling. Add the broth and tomatoes and stir until boiling.
Coat a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with the remaining oil. Layer half the fennel slices in the cooker, cover with half the artichoke quarters, and then half the sauce. Repeat the layers. Cover the cooker and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low, until everything is tender. Scatter parsley over the top and serve.
Chef's Note: Elegance is not usually a key attribute of vegetables. We speak of them as healthy, colorful, and flavorful, but their ability to transport a plate toward unabashed sophistication is rare (I know there are truffles, but who in his right mind is going to slow cook a truffle?). This dish has that power, thanks to it seductive marriage of two Mediterranean vegetables. The preparation is no more complicated than an average sauté, but the flavors and textures may cause swooning; consider yourself warned.
Recipe courtesy of Art of the Slow Cooker: 80 Exciting Recipes by Andrew Schloss (Chronicle Books, 2008)