Charred fennel: the perfect Autumn side

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A fabulous and delicious vegetable I always get a hankering for this time of year is the humble fennel. Different to the herb fennel that you may know, this is the white bulb of the plant that can be prepared in a variety of ways. My Mum is a huge fan and has converted me as a lover of this aniseed bulb that can be shaved and used in salads, or as she does it: baked in the oven with a dusting of bread crumbs. The flavour can be quite strong, which mellows when you cook it but I think it makes for a lovely vegetable change with some roasted or BBQ’d meat. I have created a simple method of cooking some marinated fennel pieces on the BBQ or fire pit, until they are soft and charcoal-y on the outside and drizzled with a simple dressing. Simple and delicious and perfect served with some BBQ’d meat or seafood…especially outside on a sunny cold day.

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You’ll need:

2 large fennel bulbs
2 lemons
1.5 cloves garlic
Olive oil
Handful continental parsley
Salt & Pepper

Cut the tops off the fennel bulbs (leave the core in at the base to keep the pieces held together) and slice into 1 cm pieces. Toss into the mixing bowl marinade to coat.

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Into a large mixing bowl add 1 grated or crushed garlic clove and the zest of 1 lemon. Add in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil & salt and pepper.

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Onto a hot BBQ or fire pit grill place the pieces and cook for a few minutes either side until crispy and charred while the thickest part start to feel tender. This takes about 7-10 minutes.

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While the fennel is cooking away on the BBQ make the dressing in the same mixing bowl as you used for the marinade coating. Grate another half clove of garlic, juice of one lemon, another 2 or so tablespoons of olive oil, finely chopped parsley and salt and pepper and give it a good stir.

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Plate up the charred pieces of fennel on a platter and drizzle the dressing over it’s back. Give a good crack of pepper and garnish with some of the beautiful delicate feathery fennel leaves that may have been at the top of your bulbs.

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Do you love fennel too?
How do you prepare it?


  1. Yum! I adore fennel. My favourite is to cut a couple of fennel bulbs into wedges, throw in a shallow ceramic baking dish with some chopped garlic, cover with chicken stock, juice from a lemon, sprinkle of salt and cracked pepper, maybe a splash of white wine if I feel like it, possibly a sprig or two of thyme or a bay leaf. Pop it in the oven on 180 until soft. I can eat the whole lot!

  2. Yum! Fennel shaved into salads in summer and then come the cooler weather my husband makes a delish fennel bake – just like potato bake, lashings of bechemel, pop some grated cheese on top and stick it in the oven until cooked through and brown on top! Yummo! Def trying both yours and Lucy’s (comment above) recipe though…well, will show recipe to husband 🙂

  3. At Thanksgiving in the US, if we have to go to my sister-in-law’s who stuffs her turkey with rice instead of stuffing (ew), I bring a fennel-mushroom bread pudding that everyone raves about. Here’s one version:

    Once on a house boat on the Mary River with son and DIL, our DIL grilled fennel cubes with onion, seasonings & olive oil in tinfoil packets. Yum!

  4. I make a Martha Stewart recipe that is delicious. I’ve never added the dried pears as that is a hard ingredient to come by. I’ve never thought of grilling it….we will have to try this out.

  5. merilyn says

    fennel lover here too! … thanks beth!
    loving all of these slightly different ways to cook it!
    I love it raw sliced finely into a shallow dish with a nice vinaigrette
    and let it sit for a while! love the tops too as a heavy garnish!
    goes well with my smashed bean dip and bbq chicken.
    have a good one beth! love m:)X
    btw gorgeous photo of you, in the garden of autumn leaves!X

  6. Another fennel lover here. Sadly no one I live with likes it 😔
    On a happier note, I made your roasted pumpkin soup last week. It was so easy to put together and it was the most delicious pumpkin soup I’ve ever made. Everyone loved it – thank you 👏👏 🎃


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