1 Tablespoon butter
2 medium fennel bulbs, finely diced
¼ yellow onion, minced
2 pinches of salt, divided
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
10-12 strawberries, hulled and finely diced
2 Tablespoons strawberry jam
2 Tablespoons pepper jelly
½ cup fennel fronds
4 oz. soft goat cheese
2 Tbsp milk16 water crackers
1. Heat a large pan with butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter melts.
2. Add fennel and onions along with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar; stir to coat with oil. Spread the vegetables out into a single layer so they will cook evenly.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions develop a rich, brown color. Note: onions should remain soft and moist. If they begin to crisp, reduce heat and add a teaspoon of water. You may also wish to add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar at the end to deglaze the pan and add flavor to the fennel and onion mixture.
4. When vegetables have caramelized, remove from heat and set aside.
5. Finely chop half of the fennel fronds for the goat cheese spread. Leave the other half whole for garnish.
6. In a medium bowl, fold chopped fennel fronds and a pinch of salt into goat cheese. Add a drizzle of milk and combine until cheese is soft and spreadable.
7. In another bowl, toss diced strawberries together with strawberry jam and pepper jelly. 8. Spread the goat cheese spread onto each cracker.
9. Place a spoonful of caramelized fennel and onions on the center of the cracker.
10. Top with a spoonful of the strawberry confit.
11. Garnish with a fennel frond, tucked between the strawberry and fennel mixture.
12. Serve immediately.13. Note: Caramelized fennel and onions, goat cheese spread, and strawberry confit can all be made ahead. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Crackers can also be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the pantry. Bring goat cheese to room temperature before spreading and warm caramelized fennel over low heat. Assemble just before serving.