Spice Blend


Instructions Checklist
  • To make the spice blend: Mix together the fennel seeds, caraway seeds, celery seeds, and Urfa pepper.

  • To prepare the fennel: Put the fennel wedges in a large bowl, drizzle with enough oil to coat evenly, and sprinkle with the spice blend and a generous pinch of salt. Toss to coat.

  • Heat a 12-inch skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Add the fennel in a single layer, arranging the wedges in tight concentric circles with no space between the pieces (reserve the bowl that held the spiced fennel). Reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook until the fennel is deeply browned in spots but not burned, about 3 minutes.

  • Use tongs or a small offset spatula to flip all the fennel wedges, and cook until the bottoms are browned, about 5 minutes. Flip again, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, flipping the pieces and rotating the skillet as needed to redistribute hot spots and prevent burning, until the fennel wedges are evenly browned, about 2 minutes. Return the fennel to the reserved bowl.

  • Add enough oil to the skillet to coat the bottom (about 2 tablespoons), and place the orange wedges in a single layer, spacing them apart. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, turning once, until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

  • Quickly return the fennel to the skillet, arranging it in the same tight concentric-circle pattern. Fit the orange between the fennel in concentric circles. Add 1/4 cup water to the bowl that held the fennel, then pour it into the skillet along with any spices and accumulated juices.

  • Scatter the raisins on top, then add the lemon juice and vinegar. Cover, and adjust the heat to maintain a low simmer. Turn the fennel and orange slices just once as they cook, until the fennel is tender with just a little bite and has an even caramel color, about 15 minutes. Uncover, and remove pan from the heat.

  • Let cool completely, then transfer everything to a large bowl. Add olives and almonds. Drizzle with oil to lightly coat, and gently toss. Transfer to a serving platter, and use a vegetable peeler to shave pecorino on top.


Recipe reprinted from Mastering Spice, by Lior Lev Sercarz. Copyright 2019. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.