Fennel Pesto


    2 T fennel seeds

    2 cups fennel bulb

    1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley

    2 cloves garlic

    1/3 cup walnuts

    1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

    ½ cup virgin olive oil

    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


    Discard the pithy stalks (keep some top for sauce, recipe below) and cut the bottom off the fennel bulb. Roughly chop and steam for several minutes to slightly soften. Meanwhile soak the fennel seeds in a cup of hot water.

    Combine drained fennel seeds, fennel bulb, parsley, garlic, and nuts in a blender or food processor. Blend with pulsing action to mix. Add the parmesan cheese and whirl for fifteen seconds.  With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to process until pesto reaches desired consistency. Allow pesto to stand for about five minutes before serving to allow flavors to develop.

    Makes about 1 1/4 cup of pesto. Half the recipe for the sauce recipe below. 


    Fennel and Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce


    ¼ cup olive oil

    2 T minced onion

    1 (14 oz.) can Italian style plum tomatoes with juice, chopped

    ½ cup fennel pesto (see above)

    ¼ cup minced drained and blotted sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

    2 T fennel tops finely chopped (fernlike tops saved from fennel)

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


    Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion. Sauté, stirring, over low heat until the onion is soft but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes and pesto; cook, stirring and crushing tomatoes, with the side of a spoon until the juices are slightly reduced and the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the sun dried tomatoes and fennel tops. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with hot pasta. Serves 4


  • The Best Fennel Dish Ever, AKA Caramelized Fennel with Honey, Lemon Zest and Chevre

    -Cut the fronds and bottom off of 2 bulbs of fennel.

    -Stand them on end and slice each bulb into very thin slices the long way.

    -Heat 2 TBS of butter in a cast iron skillet, then put the fennel slices in a single layer into the pan.

    -If there isn’t enough room, use 2 pans or make 2 batches.

    -Brown the fennel about 5 minutes per side over medium heat.

    -Don’t turn them until they are very brown on one side.

    -After you finish browning the fennel, put it in a bowl.

    -Add 2 TBS of honey and 1-2 TBS sherry to the pan and deglaze the pan for 2 minutes stirring often.

    -Pour the honey syrup over the fennel.

    -Press 1 clove of fresh garlic, then add it to the fennel with a pinch of salt and gently toss.

    -Spread the fennel out in a single layer on a large serving plate.

    -Zest most of one lemon over top of the fennel.

    -Crumble about ¼ cup of chevre cheese over top of the fennel.

  • White Bean and Winter Tarragon Soup with Fennel

    serves 4


    8 ounces Great Northern white beans

    2 Tablespoons olive oil

    1 medium onion, diced

    1 small fennel bulb, diced, about one cup

    2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    7 cups chicken stock

    1 Tablespoons fresh winter tarragon leaves, chopped*

    3 Tablespoons thinly sliced ham, julienned

    salt and pepper to taste



    Sort through the beans to remove rocks and other items. Put in a container and cover with four inches of water. Soak overnight. Drain off the water.


    In a stainless steel pot heat the olive oil. Saut the onion and the fennel until golden. Add the grated lemon peel and the garlic. Cook for one minute to release the flavors. Add the stock, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the beans until soft, about one hour.


    Stir in the tarragon, reserving 1/2 teaspoon to use for garnish. Add the ham, stirring to blend all flavors. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into decorative soup bowls and garnish with the remaining tarragon.


    * French tarragon can be substituted for winter tarragon.

    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups)
    • 2 large potatoes (about 18 ounces total), peeled, diced
    • 4 1/2 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt broth


    • Saute sliced fennel with the leeks
    • Add herbs to the pureed soup: basil, cill or chives
    • Add cream or milk to substitute for part of the liquid


    Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat with butter. Cover saucepan; cook until leeks are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften but do not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

    Puree soup in batches in processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Thin with additional stock if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with chives and serve.

    Serves 4.
  • yield: Makes 8 first-course servings

    This soup can be pureed by pressing it through a strainer or a food mill. It can also be pureed in a blender and then strained.


    Spice mix

    • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
    • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
    • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns


    • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 4 stalks chopped celery
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion or shallot
    • 1 cup chopped carrots
    • 1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger (from about 3-inch-long piece)
    • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 pound bell peppers, chopped
    • 1 3/4 cups chopped fresh fennel bulb
    • 3 pounds tomatoes, diced (about 8 cups)
    • 5 1/4 cups vegetable broth
    • 2 teaspoons (about) hot pepper sauce
    • 1 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over
    • Thinly sliced radishes (optional)
    • Chopped fresh chives (optional)

    For spice mix:
    Toast all ingredients in heavy medium skillet over medium heat until spices darken slightly in color and start to pop, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Cool in skillet. Transfer to spice mill and grind finely.
    For soup:
    Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion/shallots, and carrots. Sauté until vegetables soften slightly, about 8 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and sauté 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and fennel. Stir 2 minutes to coat. Add tomatoes; cook until tomatoes soften and break down, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add broth and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Add ground spice mix; return soup to boil. Remove from heat; cover and steep 20 minutes.
    Place coarse sieve over large bowl. Working with 2 cups at a time, strain soup into bowl, pressing liquid and most of solids through sieve. Season soup to taste with hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate soup until cold, at least 3 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
    Ladle soup into 8 shallow bowls. Divide crabmeat among bowls. Garnish with radish slices and chives.

  • yield: Makes 8 first-course servings

    • 2 navel oranges (1 pound total)
    • 2 fennel bulbs, stalks discarded and bulbs halved lengthwise
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 heads escarole (2 pounds total), dark outer leaves discarded and pale green and yellow inner leaves torn into bite-size pieces

    Finely grate enough zest from 1 orange to measure 1 tablespoon. Cut peel, including all white pith, from both oranges with a paring knife. Cut segments free from membranes, then cut segments crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
    Cut out and discard core of each fennel bulb, then cut bulbs crosswise into thin slices.
    Whisk together vinegar, zest, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until salt is dissolved, then add oil in a stream, whisking until combined well.
    Toss escarole, fennel, and oranges with dressing in a large bowl until combined well. Season with salt and pepper.


  • 2 T. olive oil
    2 fennel bulbs, sliced paperthin
    2 leeks (white part only) sliced paperthin
    1 lg sweet onion
    3 tsp. dried oregano
    1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
    1 T. chopped jalepeno pepper
    4 lg tomatoes chopped
    1/2 cup orange juice
     2 cans chopped clams plus liquid
    1 pound sea scallops
    1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
    1.  Warm oil over medium heat in a heavy, large pot.
    2. Add next 6 ingredients (through peppers), saute until tender, about 7 min.
    3. Add tomatoes and orange juice.
    4. Add clams and scallops.  Cover pan, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook.
    5. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve. 
    Makes 8 servings.

  • Fall is when the wild mushrooms, particularly Chanterelles, start mysteriously popping out of the dark forest duff around here. It's also when the corn is ripe, making a perfect marriage. This soup would go great with a pile of steamed kale, drizzled in olive oil and a splash of cider vinegar and salt.
    Corn Chowder with Bacon, Crab and Chanterelle Mushrooms


    • 4 ears fresh yellow corn
    • 4 cups chicken or veggie broth
    • 3 cups whipping cream (or milk or milk substitute if aiming for a lower fat soup)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 7 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (optional)
    • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
    • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 medium)
    • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery (i didn't have any and went without - it was fine)
    • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
    • 1 3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 1-2 colored sweet peppers, diced
    • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
    • 6 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms, thickly sliced
    • 2 tablespoons dry Sherry
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 tsp. dried
    • 1 pound fresh crabmeat (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    Cut kernels off corn cobs. Set kernels aside and put the cobs into a large heavy saucepan. Peel the potatoes. Set diced spuds aside and add peels to saucepan. Chop the leeks. Save the butt ends and the leaves, chop up, rinse and combine with the corn cobs, broth, and cream. Simmer 5 minutes, being careful not to scorch the cream. Remove from heat.
    Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and sauté until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons pan drippings; add onion, leeks, celery, and fennel seeds to pot. Sauté until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in potatoes and sweet peppers. Strain cobs, leek leaves and potato peels from cream mixture; add strained stock into potato mixture. Simmer until potatoes are almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in corn kernels. Simmer chowder until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes longer.
    Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in Sherry and thyme. Add mushroom mixture to chowder. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Sauté crabmeat in same large skillet over medium-low heat just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Divide crabmeat, reserved bacon, and parsley among bowls. Ladle chowder over and serve.

  • This is a somewhat-involved soup, made entirely from scratch, but it relies on all your current veggies, plus a few that are still to come.

    Vegetable broth

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3 large carrots, peeled, sliced
    • 2 medium onions, sliced
    • 1 medium fresh fennel bulb, sliced
    • 1 medium celery root (celeriac), peeled, sliced
    • 1/2 head of garlic, crushed (with peel)
    • 6 large fresh Italian parsley sprigs
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1 large fresh rosemary sprig
    • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 16 cups water

    Garlic croutons

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 3 cups 1/2-inch cubes baguette or rustic country-style bread

    Vegetable soup

    • 1 cup dried cranberry beans or cannellini (white kidney beans)
    • 4 small carrots, peeled, sliced
    • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 medium white-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
    • 1 cup sliced trimmed Italian pole beans or green beans (about 5 ounces)
    • 1 cup 1/2-inch cubes peeled celery root (celeriac)
    • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • 4 kale leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
    • 2 1/2-pints red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • Freshly shaved parmesan or asiaggo cheese

    For vegetable broth:
    Heat oil in very large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots and next 7 ingredients. Sauté until vegetables are golden and begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato paste; stir to blend. Add 16 cups water and bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 2 1/2 hours.
    Strain vegetable mixture, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids in strainer. Measure 13 cups broth and pour into large bowl (reserve remaining broth for another use). Season broth with salt. DO AHEAD: Can be made 5 days ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.
    for garlic croutons:
    Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add bread cubes; stir until crisp and golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
    For vegetable soup:
    Place cranberry beans in medium bowl; add enough cold water to cover beans by 2 inches. Let stand at room temperature overnight. Drain. Place beans in large saucepan; add enough cold water to cover beans by 3 inches. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Drain beans; set aside.
    Bring 13 cups vegetable broth to simmer in large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots and next 7 ingredients to broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD: Soup and beans can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill beans. Cool soup slightly, then chill until cold. Cover and keep chilled. Rewarm soup over medium heat before continuing.
    Add cranberry beans and kale and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in cherry tomatoes and parsley; simmer just until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.
    Ladle vegetable soup into bowls. Garnish with garlic croutons and shaved cheese and serve.

  • 2 big fennel bulbs, sliced up
    5 Tbs. olive oil
    1 onion, sliced
    3 tomatoes, chopped
    8 basil leaves, finely chopped
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
    ½ cut pitted black or other cured olive

    In a wide skillet, sautee onions in olive oil over med-low heat for several minutes. Add sliced fennel and sautée covered for about 15 minutes, until melted together and soft. Add chopped tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, vinegar and olives. Stir, re-cover and cook for another couple minutes. Serve hot or warm.
    Serves 4-6.

  • Modified from a recipe on epicurious.com
    yield: Makes 8 servings
    The inclusion of fennel and a dash of Pernod puts a sophisticated spin on the classic chilled potato soup. 


    • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 5 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (about 3 small fennel bulbs)
    • 2 onions or leeks, sliced
    • 1 pound small potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 4 cups chicken stock or canned low– salt chicken broth
    • 2 tablespoons Pernod
    • 2 cups half and half

    Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add sliced fennel and onions/leeks. Cover and cook until fennel is tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add potatoes and chicken stock; increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in Pernod. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Transfer soup to large bowl. Mix in 2 cups half and half. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Chill soup uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

  • This is a great way to enjoy any and all root vegetables, particularly when they're as colorful as beets and rainbow carrots are.
    1 bunch carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    1 fennel bulb, cut into even thick slices
    1 bunch or 1.5 pounds beets, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    Any other seasonal roots: potatoes, sweet potatoes, celeriac, parsnips, etc., cut into even 1/2 inch cubes.
    Glug of olive oil
    Sea salt
    Rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram - any combination of herbs, dried or fresh

    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    • Mix all the cubed roots together. Coat evenly with a good glug of olive oil, a good sprinkle of salt, and the herbs (chopped if using fresh). Toss well.
    • Spread out evenly on a cookie sheet.
    • Bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes, checking frequently and turning with a spatula to prevent sticking. Cook until a little bit crispy and golden.
    • Taste for salt and other seasonings. Enjoy plain, or with ketchup or hot sauce. Also great with eggs, like hashbrowns.
  • 2 navel oranges
    16 strawberries
    1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced lengthwise, some fronds reserved for garnish
    1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
    coarse ground black pepper
    8 lettuce leaves ( boston, bibb or flashy trouts back lettuce)
    Zest one orange ( 2 teaspoons)  Cut peel and pith away from both oranges.  Use a paring knife, cut out segments, cutting over a bowl to reserve the juice.
    Add strawberries, sliced fennel, orange zest and fennel fronds to the bowl of orange segments and toss together gently.  stir in the lemon juice and olive oil, season with the salt and pepper.  add lettuce, toss again and serve
    104 calories  18g carbs
    Body and soul magazine

    Olive oil

    2 baby fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered
    1 tbs balsamic vinegar
    ½ cup  chicken stock
    Handful of arugula
    2-4 oz. marinated feta, crumbled
    ¼ small red onion, very thinly sliced
    ¼ large red chilli, thinly sliced
    1 tsp finely grated lemon rind 
    Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle 

    • Heat 2 tbs of oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add fennel and cook, turning, for 2-3 minutes or until fennel caramelizes a little, season with salt and pepper. 
    • Add balsamic vinegar and chicken stock, cover and cook for 8 -10 minutes or until tender. 
    • Transfer braised fennel to a bowl, add arugula, feta, red onion, chili, lemon rind and dress with olive oil. Toss gently to serve.