Fennel Three Ways with Blood Orange–Olive Vinaigrette

Mohammed Islam

Chateau Marmont, Hollywood, CA

When Mohammed Islam visited the Beard House in February, he served Fennel Two Ways, a gorgeous combination of roasted and raw fennel. But when we asked chef Islam for the recipe, he added a third fennel preparation: pickled. The blood oranges provide acid and a touch of sweetness to the vinaigrette.


  • 30 baby fennels, tops removed, soaked in cold water to clean
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 small pinch red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 blood oranges, sectioned
  • 1/2 cup Picholine olives, pits removed and chopped
  • Salt and white pepper to taste


Place 10 fennel bulbs in a large, heat-resistant glass jar. Combine the sugar, vinegar, water, fennel seeds, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and bay leaves in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Pour the hot liquid over the fennel in the jar and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Pickled fennel will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Cut 10 fennel bulbs vertically and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the thyme, pepper flakes, and a pinch or two of kosher salt. Roast the fennel on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray until tender and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Cut the sectioned blood oranges into medium dice and mix with the olives and 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Shave the last 10 fennel bulbs very thin, horizontally. A Japanese mandolin will work best for this. Toss with the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice, seasoning with salt and white pepper to taste. To serve, place equal amounts of roasted, pickled, and raw fennel on the plate and finish with a generous spoonful of the vinaigrette.


4 servings