There are some big Spanish flavours in this dish, so the Sherry Vinegar acts as a kind of matador to them all, keeping them in check with its distinct, but not overbearing sharpness, whilst adding subtle nutty, oaky aromas. It would go brilliantly with some roast chicken or for a really special sandwich put between 2 slices of focaccia with a handful of rocket.
2 cooking chorizo sausages (around 150g), sliced into thin rounds
2 large bulbs fennel
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 tsp Early Harvest Olive Oil
½ tsp ground fennel seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2tsp Sherry Vinegar
Handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
For the alioli
150g good quality mayonnaise
½ garlic clove, peeled then grated or finely chopped and crushed
3 anchovy fillets, chopped and crushed to a paste
2 sprigs rosemary, stalks removed and finely chopped
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
Heat an oven to 200C. Finely chop the tops and stalk of the fennel until you get down to the top of the bulb and set aside. Cut each bulb in half and then into 4 or 5 wedges, giving 16-20 wedges in total. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tsp olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Spread on a roasting tray and place in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. The fennel should be golden brown with slight singeing at the tips, and be soft but not mushy.
Whilst the fennel is roasting, place a medium frying pan on a medium heat and once hot, add the chorizo. It might stick to begin with, but once it begins to cook, it will release its oil and begin to fry in this. Cook for 5 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the chorizo from the pan to use later, but keep the oil and add 1 tsp olive oil. Increase the heat a little and add the fennel tops, onion, fennel seeds and a few pinches of salt. Cook for 10 -15 minutes, perhaps turning the heat down if it begins to brown too much, until they are soft and sweet. Return the chorizo to the pan and keep warm.
To make the alioli, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Taste and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired, as some anchovies are saltier than others.
Take the fennel from the oven and place in a large bowl. Add the chorizo mix from the pan making sure not to leave any of the oil behind and add the sherry vinegar. Mix well to combine then taste and season with more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Divide between plates and serve the aioli on top or alongside.