Baked fennel with anchovy crumbs

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Prep 25minBake 45minMakes 4-6 serves

If you’re not a big fan of fennel then you may just have to reconsider your standing once you have tried this dish. Baked fennel – particularly when teamed with the saltiness of anchovies, the crunch of crisp breadcrumbs and the savouriness of fresh thyme – is one of the best side dishes winter has to offer.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    5 anchovy fillets, chopped
    60g butter
    100g coarse sourdough breadcrumbs
    2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
    4 baby fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut into quarters
    12 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
    250ml (1 cup) good-quality chicken stock


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C fan-forced).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the anchovies and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until the anchovies dissolve. Add 30g of the butter and the breadcrumbs and toss until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted. Transfer to a bowl, toss through the parsley and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining oil and butter to the frying pan and heat over medium-high heat until the butter is foaming. Add the fennel in a single layer and cook for 3 minutes each side or until golden and starting to soften.
  4. Transfer the fennel, in a single layer, to a 2 litre (8 cup) capacity dish, and pour any pan juices over the top. Scatter with the thyme leaves and pour the chicken stock over. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until the fennel is tender when pierced with a skewer and the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp.
  5. Serve immediately.

Baker's Tips

  • This dish is best eaten straight from the oven, while the fennel is warm and the bread chunks still crisp, however it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature or reheat at 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for 10 minutes or until heated through.

This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Winter Root VegetablesCLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.

Photography by Alan Benson.