Pan Fried Fennel

After making my fennel cake I had quite a bit of fresh fennel left over and so I decided to experiment with cooking it. The first night I cooked the fennel in the griddle pan, and even though it looked good, I didn’t quite get it cooked enough. Fennel has a lovely anise flavour and is a key ingredient in making absinthe. Fennel is indigenous to the Western Cape and can be seen growing wild in most uninhabited tracts of land around our house. The entire plant can be used, from the bulb to the seeds. I chose some young fennel to use for this recipe for Pan Fried Fennel, and you need to make sure that the ones you choose are firm.

Pan Fried Fennel
Pan Fried Fennel
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Pan Fried Fennel

Recipe Category: Side Dish, Vegetarian
Makes enough for: 2 people
All Rights Reserved: An original recipe from Lavender and Lime


  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 15 g butter
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced
  • 5 sun dried tomatoes, sliced


  • heat the oil and the butter in a frying pan
  • cook the fennel until soft
  • add the sun dried tomatoes and cook until warm
  • suggestion: serve as a side dish to accompany fish

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Ingredients for my Pan Fried Fennel:

  • Olive Oil – I only purchase extra virgin cold pressed oil and use this for all my recipes. I don’t buy the most expensive there is but I try to buy in bulk, in a tin to save money, and preserve the oil. If it smells rancid you need to throw it out. This could be due to exposure to sunlight.
  • Butter – I always use unsalted butter in my recipes if it is available in the shops. If not, be sure to keep in mind that you need to reduce the amount of salt you use in a recipe.
  • Fennel – this vegetable is indigenous to where we live. Surprisingly, there are male and female bulbs which you can tell by the shape. Be sure to buy unblemished bulbs that are firm to the touch. If you grow your own, harvest the fennel seeds to use for cooking.
  • Sun dried tomatoes – I always have a packet of these in my pantry. The oil is great to use for salad dressings so don’t throw it out. Use sparingly as the flavour of the sun dried tomatoes can overwhelm a dish.

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26 thoughts on “Pan Fried Fennel

  1. I love fennel…raw in a salad and cooked, or the seeds sprinkled on top of something. I’m sure your fennel was delicious. Lucky you to have it growing wild.

    1. I am going to start using it more – but the shop bought one as I am not sure what is in the soil where the wild ones grow 🙂

    1. That has happened to me before, that I have cooked something and had to throw the whole pot away I burnt the food so badly 🙂

  2. This is a very tasty way to prepare fennel, I like these little bits of sun dried tomatoes!

    1. I thought it added a nice dimension to the fennel – Dave is not so keen on too much sun dried tomato in a dish so I have to be less than generous with it 🙂

  3. I cook fennel a lot when it’s in season. It goes beautifully with parmesan. Try making a risotto with it…so good! Or soup… (there’s a recipe on my blog for my favourite fennel soup)

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