Fennel à la Grecque

May/June 1994

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Here fennel is cooked in the traditional French technique, a la grecque, which is a term for cooking vegetables in an infusion of herbs, spices and lemon.

Fennel à la Grecque


  • 1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 large sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 4 large sprigs fresh parsley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, cut in half lengthwise and sliced, divided
  • 6 large bulbs fennel, trimmed and cut into wedges, divided, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds for garnish
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Tie coriander seeds, peppercorns, thyme, parsley and bay leaves together in a piece of cheesecloth. Whisk together broth, wine, lemon juice, tomato paste and water in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add half the onion and half the fennel; cook, stirring, until the vegetables are limp and starting to color, about 10 minutes. Pour in half the broth mixture, tuck the spice bag into the vegetables and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is tender and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the mixture to a large bowl, reserving the spice bag.
  3. Wipe out the pan, pour in the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and repeat the above steps with the remaining ingredients. Let cool and discard spice bag. Serve at room temperature, garnished with chopped fennel fronds.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before serving.


Per serving: 68 calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 1 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 3 g protein; 4 g fiber; 113 mg sodium; 516 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (32% daily value), Potassium (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 2 vegetable

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