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White plate with fennel and goat cheese

Caramelized Fennel with Goat Cheese

  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: International


If you don't know how you feel about fennel, this might be the dish to answer your questions. This vegetable, with its aniseed undertone, is fantastic when caramelized and served with goat cheese. The flavor is more subtle and friendly.



  • 4 small fennel bulbs
  • 3 ½ Tbs unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • ¾ cup roughly chopped dill
  • 5oz soft goat cheese
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon


  1. Take off the leafy fronds from the fennel bulbs, if they have any.
  2. Slice off some of the roots and remove any tough or brown outer layers, making sure the base still holds everything together. Cut each bulb lengthways into ½ inch thick slices.
  3. Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over high heat.
  4. When the butter starts to foam add a layer of sliced fennel.
  5. Do not overcrowd the pan and don't turn the fennel or stir it around the pan until one side has become light golden, which will take about 2 minutes.
  6. Turn the slices over using tongs and cook for further 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan. You might need to do this in two or more batches; in that case, distribute the butter and oil evenly among batches.
  7. Add the sugar, fennel seeds and plenty of salt and pepper to the same skillet.
  8. Fry for 30 seconds, then return all the fennel slices to the pan to caramelize. Do this gently for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the fennel to a plate and let cool down.
  9.  To serve, add chopped dill, dot with goat cheese and lemon zest.
  10. Serve at room tº.


You can use ricotta cheese for a similar, less pungent result.

Keywords: caramelized fennel, fennel side dish