Fennel braised in vermouth with garlicky breadcrumbs

This goes well with all kinds of things – with ham for lunch; or with grilled white fish for an elegant dinner….although beware –  it IS very garlicky.


Recipe for fennel braised in vermouth with garlicky breadcrumbs

Serves 4


  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • A few strands of saffron
  • Olive oil – about 160ml/⅔ cup
  • Smoked salt and freshly ground pepper (or a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes)
  • Several grinds of nutmeg
  • Fresh thyme
  • 60g/½ cup walnut halves
  • 100g/4 oz – two or three slices wholesome bread
  • 25g/1 oz/a packet flat-leaved parsley
  • 6 fat cloves of garlic, crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
  • Generous grinds of black pepper (in fact I used Urfa pepper flakes)
  • 120 ml/½ cup dry vermouth


  1. Preheat the oven to 210ºC.
  2. Cut the top off the fennel and put it to one side. Cut off any brown bits, and wash off any dirt or soil.
  3. Cut the fennel vertically in half, and then cut each half into three or four wedge shapes.
  4. Put into a shallow ovenproof dish. Pour over two tbsps. olive oil and the saffron, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix well. Pour in the dry vermouth.
  5. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in an electric chopper or blender put the bread and the parsley (including the stems) and blitz until it is breadcrumbs.
  7. Peel and crush the garlic with the salt, and add that to the breadcrumbs – pulse again. Pour in 120ml/½ cup olive oil. Mix.
  8. Separately chop the nuts.
  9. Take the fennel out of the oven if you haven’t already. Mix in the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the nuts over, return to the oven for another five minutes.
  10. Serve, garnished with a few fronds of fennel on top.


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