Fennel and Garlic Purée – I’m begging you….

John Dory with fennel purée…to try this dish. It’s too good to keep to myself. In recent times, I have been making the case for keeping it simple. This has been more of a reflection of how I am trying to live my life (trying and failing) than for any higher gastronomic purpose. In an effort to prevent world shortage and escalating prices, I have tried to dissuade you from buying beef short ribs. You discouraged yourselves when it came to monkfish cheeks. So you might be surprised when I highly recommend you try something of truly spectacular quality and ease of preparation. 

The dish I have in mind is Fennel and Garlic Purée. I served it this time with pan-fried John Dory (How else do you fry something but in a pan?), boiled potatoes and shop bought pre-cooked beetroot. The ingredients list is very short indeed, as befits my current fashion for simplicity;

  • 3 fennel bulbs
  • 250ml (half a pint) of cream
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and pepper to season

The instructions are also pretty simple too. Chop the tops and tails off the fennel bulbs.

Fennel and garlic purée

There is very little to do in preparing this dish. Hence the shot of chopping veg.

Quarter the remainder. Chop the garlic quite fine. Put these into a saucepan and pour in the cream.

Fennel and garlic purée

Fennel and garlic purée deserves one decent pouring shot.

Then simmer until the fennel is starting to get quite soft and the cream has reduced by about a third.

Fennel and garlic purée

The kitchen fills with a beautiful aniseed aroma. Then it’s done.

Tip the lot into a blender and blend until smooth.

Fennel and garlic purée

This is as complicated as it gets. Turn the switch to ‘ON’.

The other things going on involve frying the fish, chopping the shop bought beetroot and boiling the potatoes.

Fennel and garlic purée

Truly the star of the show. Helped by the addition of the fennel leaves for decoration.

I love John Dory but the star of the show by a number of galaxies is the fennel and garlic purée. It has a fantastic flavour. I entreat you to try it. I reckon there’s enough fennel and cream to go around, so no excuses please.

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  • Two of my favourite things combined – garlic and fennel- and I have the most amazing fresh garlic from my garden available, will try it this weekend and let you know!


    • Please do Willie. I would be very interested to get your views.

  • Are the beets pickled at all?

    • These ones not. They were lacking in flavour a bit. Nothing like a fresh one, roasted.

  • What a tasty sounding / looking puree. A lovely simple dinner.

    • It’s as easy as it looks and beautifully tasty. A must try.

  • Fennel and cream–how can you miss? We don’t even bother pureeing it – if you get a string, tough luck, life is hard. Great technique with leeks too. Ken

    • A good thought Ken. I just love the aniseed undertones in the puree.

  • Simply … wonderful. (I think you’ll appreciate my succinct response.)

    • Indeed (need I say more?)

      • Nope (you shan’t).

  • Brilliant! That’s going straight to the top of my list as soon as the fennel in the garden are big enough to pick. On second thoughts I may just commit infanticide. (I’ll pass on the beets though).

    • The shop bought are a bit weak in flavour. I like to oven roast my own. Very tasty then.

  • Excellent – I love garlic 😉

  • Looks very tasty and a nice pouring shot, too. I need to do some fennel dishes. I keep meaning to do some but other things keep getting in the way. Maybe this one will motivate me. 🙂

    • Give it a lash Richard. Well worth the tiny amount of prep involved.

  • Absolutely stunning layer after layer of flavor burst ! You are such an outstanding chef ! Who would have thought of infusing garlic with fennel?

    I’m gonna try it exactly the way you showed here. Love ‘n hugs.

    • You do that Nusrat. Post a picture, I’d love to see your approach.

  • This looks great, Conor, particularly since I’ve so rarely cooked with fennel. Also, as a Southerner and an American, I’d like to introduce you to the Fry Daddy, the quickest way to deep fry everything. EVERYTHING. (Keep away from shoes or else you might even want to deep fry them.) ;’p

    Also, I bet this place keeps a few on reserve: http://www.takepart.com/sites/default/files/styles/tp_content_wide/public/4716320478_2391f7a476_b.jpeg

    • I love it. Now there is some culinary class. One has to admire their sheer conviction to the cause. I also love the concept of deep fried butter (NOT).

  • I like a raw fennel salad with garlic, but have never tried the combination cooked. Looks like I should!

    • Thanks Stefan. It is pretty good stuff. How went the roast pig?

  • I have been know to make a fennel and garlic velouté (pretty similar to what you have just thinned with a little stock) with seafood from time to time. Cracking combo!!

  • This seems simple and divine. But you didn’t explain which direction is the ‘ON’ direction with the blender. Thanks in advance.
    P.S. – This might be one of your best pouring shots to date. The copper pan is clutch.

  • I do love it when you beg….(p.s. perhaps we say pan-fry to distinguish from a deep-fryer?)

  • Conor, you do not have to ‘beg’: this is too appetizing not to try! OK: for my version will grill the fish, steam the potatoes, make my own beetroot and then allow myself the luxury of the cream I don’t normally use to plate the dish 😀 ! Ornery woman I agree 😉 ! Thanks . . .

    • I could live with that Eha. The cream is a treat, for sure.

  • Double thumbs up on this recipe. Sounds delightful to go with so many dishes. BTW love this little shrimps all lined up on your cover page.

    • Thanks BAM, I don’t think they enjoyed being part of the shoot!

  • I love fennel so I’m definitely going to try your puree.

  • conor, have you ever tried this chilled? as soon as i saw the recipe, my interest was piqued.

    you have me convinced of its merits served hot with fish. but i can’t help but imagine this as the perfect compliment to a canape plate: black olives, a nice sharp aged cheese, smoked herring, and fennel-garlic dip.

    • You’ve talked me into it. Great idea. Now, I have to try it.

  • Fennel and garlic. You don’t have to beg 🙂

  • Doesn’t fennel taste like licorice? Can you recommend a fish similar to John Dory as we do not have this here…

    Finally getting caught up…Hope that you and yours are doing well!

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