Fennel recipes: Crab and fennel linguine

We love fennel! This aniseed-flavoured veg is fantastically versatile, lending itself to so many different dishes. And while it’s available throughout the year in the UK, it’s at its best over the summer months, so now is the perfect time to cook up some beautiful fennel recipes.

You can enjoy the bulb raw, shaved or finely sliced into salads; or steam, bake, braise or roast it until wonderfully soft and sweet. Keep the aromatic leafy tops for herbal teas, next-level garnishes or salad toppers, and don’t forget to chuck the celery-like stems into stocks or soups. Thanks to its aniseedy, dill-like taste, it’s so good with seafood, in salads, or tossed through pasta and risottos. It’s also great with chicken, pork or cheese. Not forgetting fennel seeds for those all-important pops of flavour.

We’ve pulled together our favourite fennel recipes; from fresh and crunchy, to mellow and sweet and some tasty uses of fennel seeds! Enjoy.

FRESH & CRUNCHY

Ceviche is Peru’s national dish of fish lightly cured with citrus juice. The textures of crunchy fennel, juicy grapefruit and silky soft sea bass are what make this recipe so pleasing to eat, all finished off with a hit of chilli. Make sure your ingredients are super-fresh and use plenty of lemon juice. 

The key to making this salad look colourful and impressive is to shave the veg as thinly as possible before tossing it in the dressing. Fennel’s bright liquorice notes balance out the earthy veggies.

Refreshing fennel and sweet crab is such a winning combo, especially when paired with fresh orange, mint and chilli. A properly elegant dinner-party starter.

MELLOW & SWEET

Fresh fennel and its seeds are cooked low and slow to create a wonderfully sweet base for this risotto. If you can get hold of a good-quality ricotta it’ll make all the difference, but fresh goat’s cheese works well here too. And check out Gennaro’s risotto that celebrates the combo of lemon with fennel

A complete winner of a midweek dinner that uses just 5 ingredients and is on the table in under 20 minutes – what’s not to love?! That classic combo of crab and fennel come together perfectly in this quick pasta, with tomato and chilli.

This is Jamie’s twist on a classic Italian parmigiana. Sweet fennel is layered with a rosemary-spiked tomato sauce and grated cheese, then topped with zesty breadcrumbs. Feel free to swap the Lincolnshire Poacher for your favourite hard cheese – Cheddar, Parmesan or Comté all work a treat. 

Fennel is a key ingredient in any fish soup, and this recipe begins with a beautifully sweet base of fennel, leek, celery, chilli and garlic, so you know it’s going to be good. This then provides the perfect base for white fish, clams, mussels and prawns. So good!

Let the oven do the hard work and make this simple vegetarian bake – just nine minutes of prep time and you’re done! Crispy, golden fennel topped with Parmesan cream and finished off with leafy fennel tops, it’s a total dream. Delicious on its own, or as a side with pan-fried fish or chicken. 

Elevate your Sunday roast with this easy-going fennel bake. Outrageously cheesy and full of garlicky aniseed flavour, it’s a great accompaniment to any meat or veggie main. Mix up the cheeses depending on what you’ve already got in the fridge, and don’t forget to save the fennel tops to garnish. 

Looking for some brilliant batch-cook veggie meatballs? We love these because they’re delicious served simply with some tomato sauce, or tossed through spaghetti. Flavoured with Parmesan and packed with seeds, these polpette are great for batch cooking for the freezer, ready for busy days.

MIGHTY FENNEL SEEDS

Formerly known as Pregnant Jools’ pasta, this tangy 30-Minute Meals classic uses fennel seeds and balsamic vinegar to ramp up the flavour, while keeping the cooking time short. Seriously satisfying stuff.

Fennel seeds add a hit of liquorice in these pillowy soft naans. Cooking in a pan with water to create steam is the key to the perfect puff – ideal for mopping up your curry.

A proper Italian combo of sausage and fennel, with the welcome addition of some British cheese. Give this one a go next time you have a pizza party. 



FAQs

How to prep and cook fennel

The fennel bulb can be eaten raw, sliced wafer-thin and added to salads; or it can be steamed, baked, braised or roasted and is commonly used in Italian and French cuisine. Just make sure to cut out the tough inner stalk before slicing or cutting into wedges. The green stalks can be finely sliced and cooked down, or used to flavour stocks and soups. Cooked fennel becomes beautifully sweet, soft and mellow; while raw fennel is crunchy, punchy and a lot like liquorice. Fennel tops (the aromatic feathery leaves or ‘fronds’) look and taste a lot like dill, and their aniseed flavour is great for infusing in herbal teas, garnishing or tossing through salads, or stuffing into fish before cooking. Fennel seeds are used widely as a spice. They work particularly well with pork and cheese as well as a whole host of veggies including beetroot, celeriac, cucumber, potatoes and citrus fruits.

What is fennel?

Fennel is a flowering perennial plant that is part of the carrot family. It has yellow flowers and green feathery leaves (fennel tops). Fennel has a distinctive aniseed flavour that works particularly well with seafood, as well as a whole host of other vegetables, as well as cheese and pork.

When is fennel in season?

Although fennel is available throughout the year, it is at its peak over the summer months, ending as we enter September.

How to store fennel

Fennel should be wrapped in damp kitchen paper and kept in the fridge for maximum freshness.

What are the health benefits of fennel?

Fennel is a source of potassium. Potassium helps our muscles to function properly.