In Perfect Vegetables, by the editors of Cooks Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen 2003) it is recommended that you reduce the cider in a nonstick skillet. By all means do, if you have one. You may also find it helpful to strain out the particulate matter in the glaze as you pour it over the vegetables; some very fresh ciders can have quite a bit of solid matter. This recipe is adapted from Perfect Vegetables.
Makes 4 side-dish servings
3 small fennel bulbs (about 2 1/4 pounds)
1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup cider
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Remove and discard the stems, fronds and any blemished portions from the fennel bulbs. Halve the bulbs through the base. Use a paring knife to remove the pyramid-shaped piece of core from each half — make sure you remove all of it, or the layers won't separate. With the cut-side down and the knife parallel to the work surface, slice each fennel half in half crosswise. Then, with the knife perpendicular to the work surface, cut each fennel half lengthwise into long, thin strips. They'll be about 1/3-inch wide and 2 inches long.
Toss the fennel, onion, thyme and oil together in a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast, turning the vegetables once after 20 minutes, until the fennel is tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the cider in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the cider has reduced to about 1/2 cup, 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a platter and drizzle with the cider glaze. Serve immediately.