Requires: Mortar and pestle
Cut off and reserve a few of the freshest looking fennel fronds for garnish. Trim the fennel bulbs by removing any green stalks. If the base of the fennel bulb is a little brown, cut a thin slice off. Use a vegetable peeler to remove any brown parts from the sides of the fennel. Cut the fennel bulb in half, then into thick wedges, keeping them joined at the root.
To braise the fennel, heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add half of the garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add the white wine and cook until evaporated. Add the chicken stock, lemon juice and sage. Bring to the boil, then add fennel. Reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the fennel is tender. Remove the braised fennel from the saucepan and set aside.
Meanwhile, season the pork cutlets well with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the fennel seeds into a mortar and pestle and crush. Add the remaining garlic, thyme, rosemary and olive oil and crush until a paste forms. Rub the aromatic paste on both sides of each pork cutlet.
Place the cutlets in a large frying pan with 1 ladle of the fennel braising stock. Cook the cutlets for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through, continually adding a ladle of fennel braising stock at a time. The fennel braising sauce combined with the pork juices will make a wonderful sauce. Transfer the pork to a plate to rest for 5 minutes.
Divide the braised fennel among 4 plates and place a pork cutlet on top. Serve the pork cutlets immediately with sauce drizzled on top – buon appetito.
4 pork cutlets, bone-in (approximately 300g each)|80g unsalted butter|3 garlic cloves, crushed|50ml white wine|1L chicken stock|Juice of 1 lemon|1 tablespoon sage, finely chopped|4 bulbs baby fennel|1 teaspoon fennel seeds|1 sprig thyme|1 sprig rosemary|1 tablespoon (20ml) extra virgin olive oil|Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper