Fennel: Recipe Ideas ?

What do you do with fennel bulbs ?

I love fennel in salads and it pairs marvelously with fresh orange slices, radishes, tri color lettuces and scallion or chive … A simple Balasmic Vinegar from Modena and an Italian or Spanish Evoo …

I also prepare a Minnestrone with Fennel during the autumn, with Italian Evvo, courgette or zucchine, broth from vegetable stock, black cabbage (cavolo), White beans, small Shell shaped pasta, a rind of Reggiano Parmesan, carrot, onion, and a large potato diced. Hearty, healthy and keeps one warm.

Also fennel sliced for Bagna Cauda or Crudities with a Roquefort dip …

1 Like

I love fennel! I use it raw, shaved for salads and slaws or cut into larger pieces for crudite platters. Cooked I adore it roasted with pork or chicken. One of my favorite fall/winter meals is my take on saucisson aux lentilles, which I make with chopped, roasted butternut squash, fennel and shallots along with the lentils and kielbasa, all in a tangy vinaigrette with plenty of herbs.


I love this Jamie Oliver recipe for roasted fennel with olives, garlic and tomatoes. I have been making it for years.


I learned to saute fennel with thick slices of zucchini in a cooking class I took a long time ago. The flavors marry very well. Cut the fennel in wedges and the zuchs on the diagonal. Saute in olive oil, season with salt & pepper. I do these in batches, keep warm in oven until all are done. Then I’ve taken to squeezing some lemon juice over them and top with grated parm.

Fennel is also integral to a bread dressing I make (based on a recipe a long time ago from the Boston Globe). Cubes of stale rustic bread, diced fennel, onion, celery, carrots and sliced shiitake mushrooms. Poultry seasoning (the original recipe had fresh herbs). I use it as a bed to roast a spatchcocked chicken in a heavily buttered casserole. The chicken completely covers the bread and juices from the chicken and moisture from the veggies makes a wonderful dressing.


Cut into 6ths or 8ths, a simple braise with garlic, thyme and chicken broth, cooked down until juices are minimal and fennel is confit. Wonderful hot or room temp.


I’ve really little to add to suggestions already made. We braise it in veg stock and white wine as an accompaniment to pork. And we roast it along with, say, courgettes, aubergines and red onions to go with pretty much anything (and I’ve been known to eat leftovers cold for lunch, with nothing more than a big hunk of bread and a drizzle of olive or rapeseed oil).



Roasting is a super idea … And “antipasti” (cold leftovers) is another great suggestion.

Thanks and have a wonderful summer.

1 Like

Pilgrim, Retrospek, Gretchen & Biondanonima,

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I am a grand fan of fennel room temperature or cooked.

The slaw is a lovely idea too. I have prepared a fennel slaw with Asturian Green apples (peeled) as the protagonists. Was lovely.

Have a great summer.


I thinly slice fennel bulbs, reserving the fronds. Toss with a peppery olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper and grill. When done, mince the frond leaves and sprinkle on the fennel. I usually make mounds as I like it warm off the grill and love the cold leftovers later.

I do something similar using the broiler only I thinly sliced lemon and parmesan cheese. i like the lemons with a little char.


Ms. Bean,

Top notch ideas …

I’m flipping a Venetian cookbook and come across fennel in milk. Never tried this before.

Put the whole fennels (female ones) in big casserole with cold water, heat until water boils and continues for 3 more minutes, remove from fire and cut each fennel into 6 sections. Heat up a pot with butter and olive oil, cook briefly the fennels. Pour enough milk to cover the vegetables, add salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes until the liquid thickens.


I think cooking things in milk isn’t uncommon in northern Italy. I have it in mind they cook pork similarly in flavoured milk. Not something I fancy I’m afraid.


Exactly! With sage, lemon zest, garlic, I find the recipe in the same book. Actually Jamie Oliver has a famous chicken in milk, I believe, inspired by this recipe.


Well, actually I didn’t know that fennels have sexes! Male is round and female is flatter/oblong in shape. Male is more suitable eaten raw and female cooked.

Although this article said the round ones are females.


Gratin: Wedge 'em, par-boil (3 mins), drain & layer in baking dish. Brush with melted butter, season, sprinkle generously with grated Parmezan (or whatever you have), bake until golden brown. Great side dish.

Pre-bake can be done hours/day ahead. Just cover in film and into the fridge.


Done a gratin, Robin. As you suggest but a topping of breadcrumbs mixed with the Parm. Freezes OK as well.

1 Like

I’m a big fan of fennel, especially with pork or seafood. Last week I had the best of both worlds making fennel braised with tomatoes, chorizo & clams.


I have a friend from Parma who made me fennel baked in cream. Also had parmesan iirc. I was dubious about the aniseed flavour working with cream but it was delicious.


The missus has cooked this Jamie recipe a few times. Always a big hit. It looks awful mind what with the milk curdling from the lemon but it tastes much better than it looks.


I have two great fennel recipes. The first is originally from the Washington Post, and the second from the internet: https://www.papillesetpupilles.fr/2006/05/pole-de-fenouils-lhuile-dolive.html/

Cod in a fennel-tomato broth

Servings: 2
- 2 tsps peanut or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly chopped
- 1 bulb of fennel, approx. 225 g, halved and thinly sliced.
- Salt
- 1.2 dL white wine
- 1.8 dL tomato juice
- 1 tsp sugar, optional
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pieces of cod, 120-160 g each
- 2 tsps finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tsps extra virgin olive oil


Take an ovenproof frying pan or casserole and cut a circular piece of parchment paper or aluminium foil that just fits into it.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel and a good pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not browned.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F.

Pour the wine into the pan, raise the heat to the highest setting and let the wine boil until the quantity is reduced by half. Lower the heat, add the tomato juice, sugar and pepper to the pan and bring to a boil.

Sprinkle the fish fillets on both sides with salt, then add to the pan. Spoon the stock over the fillets, cover with parchment paper and put the pan in the oven.

The baking time depends on the thickness of the fillets. Guideline: 12 minutes.

To serve: garnish with lemon peel and a teaspoon of olive oil.

Braised Fennel

1 bulb of fennel per person
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 dL water

Clean the fennel well, removing hard out leaves. Cut into large, irregular pieces.
Heat the oil in a frying pan, When quite hot, add the pieces of fennel and cook, stirring occasionally over a high flame until they are well browned.

Add the water, lower the flame, and let cook for about 30 minutes. There should be no liquid left in the pan. Deglaze with balsamic vinegar and serve.