Fragrant and hearty, farfoucha is a Tunisian dish in which couscous is topped with a spicy, earthy mix of vegetables. Fennel is a common component, lending both fresh flavor and the bolder anise notes that define traditional versions. Fennel fronds (the feathery greens that grow from the stalks) are crucial to the dish—they form a fluffy bed on which the couscous is steamed, then are tossed in after cooking. Since fennel bulbs in U.S. supermarkets often are sold trimmed of their stalks, we sought other ways to infuse the vegetable’s flavor into our version of farfoucha, which also includes toasted almonds for crunchy contrast to the tender couscous.
To create a flavorful base for the sauce, we sauté a thinly sliced fennel bulb with onion and green chili; we also spice the couscous with ground fennel seeds. And we use a generous amount of fresh dill to provide grassy herbal notes that also hint at fennel. The result: a vegetable dish as delightfully aromatic as the original.