The idea for candying fennel came to me organically while cooking dinner one night. I ran it by a few friends and they unanimously told me it was a terrible idea. But of course, I didn’t listen and with some research I found that I wasn’t the first to attempt it. Building on what I read online and with a fair bit of trial and error I’ve landed on candying the fennel in a combination of honey and orange blossom to complement its natural flavour.
In the interest of balance, the candied fennel really needs to be paired with dairy, I found that yogurt and goat’s cheese both worked really well. To further offset the sweetness the salad includes rocket for bitterness along with pear and walnut to give texture.
Candied Fennel and Goat’s Cheese Salad
- 1 bulb fennel fronds removed and saved for garnish
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 25 grams butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
- zest of ½ an orange
- 80 g rocket
- 100 g chevre
- ¼ cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 1 medium Beurre Bosc pear cut into thin wedges
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil
- Preheat oven to 120°C. carefully wash the fennel then cut into 6 even wedges.
- In a large non-stick pan, combine olive oil, butter, zest, orange blossom and honey. Heat over medium-high stirring regularly until butter is melted.
- Lay the fennel cut side down into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until caramelised, then flip and cook for a further 3-4minutes.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until tender and thoroughly caramelised. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Combine pear, walnuts and rocket in a bowl and toss thoroughly. Transfer to serving bowl. Top with fennel then drizzle over hazelnut oil. Spoon over the chevre in dollops.