Caramelized Fennel Bulbs With Goat's Cheese by Eva Kosmas Flores

To be honest, I’d never really had fennel up until about a month ago. I’d had fennel seeds in dishes before, but whenever I saw fennel bulbs for sale at the grocery store I am embarrassed to admit that I always just thought it was some kind of giant dill. But back in October at our upstate New York workshop, Carey whipped up a little something that blew away all my misconceptions about the vegetable. You see, she sliced the bulbs up and caramelized them. Yes, caramelized them. Like an onion. Slow-cooked in butter and olive oil until they’re lightly transparent and just golden around the edges, they loose the brightness of their anise-like flavor and gain something more sultry, warm, and savory-sweet in exchange.

Caramelized Fennel Bulbs With Goat's Cheese by Eva Kosmas Flores

There’s still the smallest hint of anise after the caramelization, and it pairs beautifully with the melted tangy goat cheese topping that gets crumbled over these guys. And when you toss in some fresh dill and lemon zest, you have the most wonderful sweet-sour-savory-herbal appetizer around. It’s wonderfully easy to make, just slice up the bulb and put it in a wide pan with some butter and olive oil. Flip a few times to cook evenly, and toss with other delicious things before serving. Most of the time spent making the dish is just sitting in the kitchen peering at your iPhone while you’re waiting for the fennel bulbs to finish caramelizing. It’s a great appetizer to make if you’re preparing other dishes simultaneously (hint hint, Thanksgiving) because the bulbs can sit there simmering in the pan while you’re tending to a few other dishes in the meantime.

Caramelized Fennel Bulbs With Goat's Cheese by Eva Kosmas Flores

This recipe is from the incredibly rich and vibrant cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Not a vegetarian himself, he wrote this astounding encyclopedia of vegetarian dishes that compounds their flavors in a dazzling and seasonal array of food that is at once both beautiful and ridiculously tasty. Keeping most of the recipes quite simple like this one, the instructions are straightforward, warm, and easy to follow, and it’s a great guide for those who are looking to incorporate more vegetables into their lives but are scratching their heads a bit about just where and how to start. And with that recommendation I have some good news as well, if you have a tablet or e-reader, the e-cookbook of Plenty is currently on sale for $3.99 as a part of Chronicle Books ‘Eye Candy’ rotating e-cookbook sale. Huzzah!! A ridiculously good deal for a book with over 120 dishes in it, if I do say so myself. And with that I will leave you with to your vegetable conquests, and wish you the best of luck in your Thanksgiving meal-planning bonanza.

Caramelized Fennel Bulbs With Goat's Cheese by Eva Kosmas Flores

Caramelized Fennel Bulbs With Goat's Cheese

This simple one-pot appetizer creates the most delicious fennel you'll ever have. It involves caramelizing them in a pan until they're tender, golden, and have developed a deep and rich flavor. Just top with a bit of chevre, lemon zest, dill, and enjoy!

Course Side Dish
Keyword fennel
Servings 2 people
Calories 775 kcal


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon flake kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 small fennel bulbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 5 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 lemon's freshly grated zest


  1. Cut the stems and fronds off the fennel bulbs and set them aside for later. Cut the fennel bulbs vertically into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  2. Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a wide and shallow dish until the butter has melted. Add the sugar, salt, and pepper to the pan and stir. Add a single layer of the fennel bulb slices and reduce heat to medium-low.

  3. Cook until transparent and lightly golden around the edges, then flip and do the same with the other side. Remove the caramelized fennel bulbs from the pan and set them aside, then repeat with the remaining fennel bulb slices, making sure to always cook them in a single layer so that each slice is in contact with the pan.

  4. Once all the fennel bulbs have ben caramelized, toss them with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, fresh dill, garlic, and fennel seeds. Serve them on top of the stems and fronds and top them with the crumbled goat cheese and grated lemon zest.
Nutrition Facts
Caramelized Fennel Bulbs With Goat's Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 775 Calories from Fat 531
% Daily Value*
Fat 59g91%
Saturated Fat 27g169%
Cholesterol 92mg31%
Sodium 1675mg73%
Potassium 1999mg57%
Carbohydrates 48g16%
Fiber 15g63%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 2515IU50%
Vitamin C 65.5mg79%
Calcium 359mg36%
Iron 5.5mg31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Caramelized Fennel Bulbs With Goat's Cheese by Eva Kosmas Flores Caramelized Fennel Bulbs With Goat's Cheese by Eva Kosmas Flores Caramelized Fennel Bulbs With Goat's Cheese by Eva Kosmas Flores
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