I completely forgot that this fennel, sausage and asparagus medley was one of my favorite recipes. Back when I lived in Chicago, my neighbor/friend/landlord would make this, and we would all sit together in the back yard and have a “family” dinner. I fell in love with this recipe and asked her for the recipe. That was about 8 years ago.
A couple of weeks ago I found my fennel, sausage and asparagus medley recipe while cleaning out my recipe binders and made it for a friend here. It was pretty good, but I broke the Italian sausage down into too many small chunks. I’m so used to making tacos, that I completely forgot. I tried it again because I was addicted to the flavor and my friend was also looking to fine tune his (read learn) knife skills.
The second batch was great! I realized that this recipe is really about making it to your own taste. I made sure to leave the sausage in fairly decent chunks and used both mild and hot Italian sausage. We also tasted the dish as it cooked, added a little more salt here and a little more honey there. I love that it’s a meal that can be served as is, or works well over pasta, rice or even a side of couscous.
Fennel, Sausage and Asparagus Medley
- 2 garlic cloves (, minced)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 oz Italian sausage (, out of casing (I like hot))
- 2 fennel bulbs (, sliced thin)
- 2 tablespoons honey + more to taste
- ½ pound asparagus (, cut on an angle into 2 inch pieces)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Good quality balsamic vinegar (, for drizzling)
- In a large oven proof skillet, cook the sausage in olive oil over medium heat stirring about 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and fennel seeds and cook until fragrant. Then add fresh fennel. Cook stirring until barely tender 6 to 8 minutes. Add asparagus, salt, pepper, honey and lemon juice; cook 1 to 2 minutes depending on the size of the asparagus. Preheat the broiler. Spread evenly in the pan and broil 4 inches from the heat for 2-4 minutes, until the aroma is irresistible and browning starts. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve with pasta, rice or couscous.