Fennel Braised in Vermouth

Fennel bulbs

Fennel bulbs

By Cat, Nov 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Sides & Condiments Menu; 2. Fennel or Finnochio (About)

This is a very versatile vegetable and herb. Most parts of the plant are edible, including: leaves, stems (bulbs), seeds, and flowers; all have a light licorice flavor.

Dry vermouth is my favorite cooking wine, and I’ve also been known to sip a glass with a nice dinner.

Fennel Braised in Vermouth

Vermouth is a highly misunderstood wine, perhaps because people associate it with a martini.  Dry vermouth is light with a nice flavor, and makes an excellent cooking wine.  This recipe, adapted from Henrietta’s Herbal website (1), is a case in point.

Ingredients & Equipment

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, sliced
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth
  • 2 Tbsp minced leafy fennel tops
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Equipment:
  • large cast iron skillet or chicken fryer


  1. Prep:
  2. Grate cheese.
  3. Chop onion and mince garlic; set aside in a small bowl.
  4. Cut off some feathery tips of the fennel and set aside.  Cut off the green stalks from the fennel bulb, and save for another use. Remove each white layer of the bulb from the core, and wash well. Then slice in ½-inch crescents.
  5. Cook:
  6. Heat oil in cast iron pan, and saute onion and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes over medium-low heat.
  7. Add fennel crescents, and toss until glazed.
  8. Add vermouth; braise until fennel is tender-crisp, about 8 minutes.
  9. Add fennel tops and cream.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, uncovered, another 4 – 5 minutes, to reduce and slightly thicken the sauce.
  10. Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve immediately


  1. Henrietta’s Herbal recipe (henriettesherbal.com/archives/best/1996/fennel.html)

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