Pan-fried fennel has a gorgeous caramelized crust. Its normally intense anise flavor becomes sweet and mellow. Combined with sweet purple onions and baby potatoes that have a crisp exterior and light and fluffy soft center. These Pan-Fried Fennel and Potatoes are an amazing side item perfect with any number of entrees.
I love the flavor of roasted fennel, but in the blistering hot Texas summer, I look for any way to eat well without turning on the oven. Pan-fried fennel is the ideal substitute for roasting, quick and easy, a cast-iron skillet produces beautiful caramelization that I actually prefer to roasted fennel.
Cooking fennel in a pan caramelizes it and gives it a beautiful golden brown color
Ingredients in my Pan-Fried Fennel recipe
- Fennel Bulbs: I use ½-1 bulb per serving depending on the size of the fennel. Trim the stems from the fennel bulb and keep them. Then cut the bulbs into 4 pieces with the root still intact to hold them together while pan-frying the fennel. Reserve the stem and green fronds, the stems can be sliced thinly like celery for salads and the fronds make excellent garnishes.
- Potatoes: For this photograph, I was lucky to find tiny baby potatoes that were perfectly used whole. But sliced potatoes are equally good in this recipe. If slicing the potatoes, I prefer a waxy potato with the skin on, red potatoes or Yukon Gold are excellent.
- Purple Onions: A great addition to the pan-fried fennel recipe. 1/8-1/4-onion per serving depending on the size, sliced through the root to keep the onion intact while pan-frying.
- Olive oil, Salt, and Pepper: The fennel, potatoes, and red onions don’t need complex seasonings. Use a good quality olive oil and pan-fry the fennel slowly over medium-high heat.
How to cook fennel in a pan
- Par-Boil the Fennel: Gently simmering the fennel and potatoes in well-salted water for 10-minutes prior to pan-frying will ensure they are completely cooked and the flavor of the fennel has mellowed. Water for parboiling fennel should contain enough salt so the water tastes like the ocean.
- Pan-Fry: Preheat a cast-iron skillet or a thick-bottomed frying pan, add the olive oil, and place the fennel, cut side down in the pan. Let the fennel fry untouched for approximately 4 minutes until well caramelized, then turn to the next side and repeat the process until all sides are golden browned. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with finely chopped fennel fronds.
This fennel recipe is simple, healthy, and delicious!
Here is my Pan-Fried Fennel recipe
- 2 Bulbs Fennel Quartered
- 1/2 Purple Onion Quartered
- 1 Cup Red Potatoes Quartered
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Salt Plus extra for parboiling
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper Or red pepper flakes
- Add potatoes to a saucepan with well-salted water. Water should taste like the ocean. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and place the fennel, onions, and potatoes cut side down. Let fry undisturbed for 4-minutes until well caramelized. Turn and repeat the process until all sides are caramelized. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with finely chopped fennel fronds.
It looks delicious and I will shop today for fennel and very small potatoes
I will try this recipe because I love fennel and those small potatoes look delicious