Riverford Wicked Leeks
Pan-fried fennel and balsamic vinegar recipe image

Print Pan-fried fennel and balsamic vinegar

This warm side dish works equally well cold, with butter instead of oil. The aniseed of fennel mellows and sweetens when it's cooked. This goes well with fish and chicken, or could be tossed into a salad.


  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 tsp olive oil & 1 tsp butter (or 2 tsp oil if serving cold)
  • 1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Trim the fennel of stems and feathery leaves, reserving the leaves. Trim the root as little as possible.
  2. Cut the fennel into ½ cm slices from root to tip so that some of the slices remain intact, attached to the stem. Blanch the fennel in boiling water for about 3 minutes until just tender and then drain well.
  3. Heat the oil and butter or oil alone in a heavy frying pan and add the fennel slices. Fry on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until beginning to colour. Lift slices onto a serving plate, leaving the fat in the pan. While the pan is still hot, add the balsamic vinegar and allow to bubble briefly.
  4. Add salt and pepper to the fennel and pour over the pan juices. Roughly chop the reserved fennel leaves and scatter over before serving. If eating cold, a few shavings of Parmesan are a good addition.
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